Researchers at the University of Alicante have developed a technology that uses steam to eliminate odors in recycled plastics. This innovation improves the reuse of containers for domestic and industrial waste and reduces the number of landfills.
Researchers in the Waste, Energy, Environment and Nanotechnology Group (Lehman) The University of Alicante (UA) has developed technology Used to eliminate the odor in recycled plastics through steam entrainment. This innovation increases the reuse of plastics in domestic waste and industrial waste as raw materials.
this is Procedure, patented UA researcher Andrea Cabanes said that a few months ago, five companies, including a multinational company, had already become interested in it. The company used water vapor to eliminate pollution from recycled plastic. Elements and odorous substances.
This young researcher and UA chemical engineering professor Andrés Fullana is committed to developing this novel invention, which has great potential in the fields of recycling and plastic packaging manufacturing. The importance of technology lies in its contribution to reducing the waste of this material in landfills and improving the quality of recycled household packaging.
Tons of containers
In 2018, Europe produced 29.1 million tons of plastic waste, of which 17.8 million tons were packaging waste. 42% of them are recycled and the rest are incinerated or landfilled. This means that Europe does not recycle more than 10 million tons of plastic waste each year. In this sense, in addition to obtaining clean, odorless products, UA’s patented technology can be completely reused for other purposes through environmental protection procedures, and it can also reduce plastic in landfills.
The materials used in Cabanes and Fullana are plastic containers because of the increasing demand to improve the quality of these recycled materials. However, the two researchers believe that the reuse of household plastic waste is limited by the absorption of its high content of food waste and cleaning products, which are absorbed by the polymer matrix and become pollutants and odor-causing substances.
These odorous substances are volatile organic compounds (VOC), which cannot be removed by conventional cleaning or current conventional mechanical recycling methods. “Therefore, it is necessary to recycle these plastic wastes in an effective and environmentally friendly way, use them as raw materials, and reduce their presence in landfills, reduce the production costs of the industry, and increase the “added value of products”, Add Cabanes.
UA’s patenting process consists of several stages. The first is the separation and adjustment of plastics. Second, it is crushed; third, chemical washing with surfactants (soap); fourth, washing plastic materials; fifth, in mechanical drying, sixth, in the deodorization of plastic, which is in steam Carried out in the distillation tower.