The high volumes of plastic waste – for example from construction and demolition, aeronautics and electronics – pose a huge economic and environmental challenge. Although the best option would be to recycle and reuse, the cost of collecting, sorting and purifying these materials is often too high, so they are disposed of by burning, landfill or by “downcycling“, i.e. reuse in low-value products.
A specific problem is that many plastic materials contain hazardous flame retardants, such as bromine. These flame retardants were used in countless products from the 1970s onwards, but have since been banned across the EU because they can remain in the environment for years, accumulating to toxic levels.
Since 2019, the partners in CREATOR are developing a new purification process for waste material, using so-called continuous extraction technologies (supercritical CO2 and eutectic solvents in twin-screw extruders). CREATOR covers the whole value chain, starting with the collecting of thermoplastic waste streams from construction and waste electrical and electronic equipment.
The project implements ways to collect secondary raw materials, identify the presence of hazardous flame retardants, remove these contaminants from the materials and finally reuse the materials in similar applications to its original markets and also in other applications. This will convert waste into valuable raw materials, generating benefits for waste collection and sorting companies and recyclers, and reducing the amount of plastic waste in the environment.
In this process CIDAUT is working on the analysis of the improvement of the fire resistance of recycled plastic material by using environmentally friendly flame retardant additives.
If you would like more information about the project, please visit https://creatorproject.eu/