Wed, 16 January, 2019
TWI is coordinating a European funded collaborative project  to recycle polypropylene, the second most widely used commodity polymer after polyethylene.
Used extensively in products ranging from food and drink packaging to carpets, electronics, automobile interiors, home furnishings and even bank notes, polypropylene is non-sustainable and contributes to non-biodegradable plastic waste. With just 1% of polypropylene currently being recycled, the rest is going to landfill and polluting the land and sea.
The ISOPREP project aims to exploit a novel patented ionic solvent to selectively solubilise polypropylene found in waste carpet, with the aim of end-of-life recycling, primarily of polypropylene carpet feedstock.
This will offer a number of environmental positives, including a reduction in CO2 emissions and fossil fuel use from the manufacture of new polypropylene products and a lessening of the amount of polypropylene going to landfill.
The ISOPREP project plans to provide a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly method of recycling polypropylene to create products with the same properties as freshly manufactured polypropylene, including the removal of dyes, colours and impurities.
Partners in the project include the Advanced Resins and Coatings Technologies Innovation Centre (ARCTIC), an innovation centre created between London South Bank University and TWI. Other collaborators include Turkish rotational moulding production specialists, Floteks, application-oriented research organisation, Fraunhofer, the Institute for Process and Particle Engineering (IPPE), Sabanci University of Turkey, UK based manufacturer of washing and separation systems, Rotajet Systems Limited, UK-based ionic liquids specialists Bioniqs Ltd, plastics recycling experts Axion Recycling Ltd and Portuguese research institute, CENTI, the Centre for Nanotechnology and Smart Materials.