European project improves printed film recyclate

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A new European Union-funded project has come up with a way of extracting contaminates from printed film, improving the quality of the final recycled material.

The CLIPP partners developed a new extrusion process involving a CO2 injection system to extract contaminants. The recycled material has a lower level of organic compounds, fewer odours and less coloration yet keeps the original mechanical properties of the raw material, says Vincent Martinez, a researcher at Spanish plastics research institute Aimplas.

The recycled material can therefore be used in high value applications, instead of lower-value products such as rubbish bags.

The new process is also said to be more economic and sustainable than the older physical/chemical method.

"This multistage process involves several layers of crushing, prewash, extraction, etc., thus requiring a considerable amount of energy consumption, generating waste and sludge contaminants and implying a management of environmental problems," say the project partners.

The CLIPP project was funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Program and run by seven partners from Germany, the United Kingdom, Slovenia and Spain.