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ISOPREP: Plastic Lifecycle Management

Wed, 21 April, 2021

TWI's Novel Polymer Technologies (NPT) section are taking a focused approach to tackling plastic waste accumulation through activities within our plastic recycling technology theme, working on a number of innovative, game-changing projects on the lifecycle management of plastics.

The devastating impact of plastic waste accumulation and mismanagement has been well established and many attempts are being made to increase the circularity of plastic products.

Although advanced sorting methods have reduced material contamination by efficiently separating different polymer materials, colorants and additives compounded in the polymer cannot be removed by a mechanical recycling process. This, inadvertently, limits the application range of the recycled material due to the variety of the colour and chemical additives present in them.

TWI is addressing this challenge, leading towards full circularity, in the EU-funded ISOPREP Project.

TWI is leading a consortium of nine industrial/academic partners in the development of a novel combinational recycling technology to Technology Readiness Level 7; able to process multi material products, such as waste carpet, converting them to virgin-like quality polyolefins.

In the process of recycling the waste carpet, polypropylene is successfully separated via a mechanical process. The separated polypropylene is then purified through a subsequent chemical process, where pigments, additives and colorants are removed, leading to a virgin-like polymer powder.

Figure 1. Comparison of the purity of the product obtained and the product it came from
Figure 1. Comparison of the purity of the product obtained and the product it came from

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Grant agreement 820787

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