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Tuesday, 12 November 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Technologies

Additives to give a new life to plastics and textiles with coatings that are difficult to recycle

Friday, 21 June 2019

The Decoat project will allow to avoid landfilling 75% of the volume of textiles and plastics with coatings that until now were difficult to recycle – thanks to the incorporation of smart additives.

Many materials consist of more than one chemical component, hindering their recyclability (symbol image). Image source: Hans / Pixabay.

Many materials consist of more than one chemical component, hindering their recyclability (symbol image). Image source: Hans / Pixabay.

The project consortium consists of 17 partners from across Europe from across the value chain including design, manufacturing, NGOs, and research and innovation.

The focus of the consortium is on coated and painted textiles and plastic materials which are not currently recyclable. Ambitious plastic recycling targets of 50% have been set by the European Plastics Industry, and to meet these targets, smart solutions to enable the circular use of textile and plastic parts with multi-layer coatings must be considered. Many materials consist of more than one chemical component, hindering their recyclability, such as coated and laminated products. Ideally, all the components of an object after its end-of-life should be separated and fed to the most suited recycling streams.

Smart additives

Decoat has therefore been established to investigate triggerable smart polymer material systems and appropriate recycling processes. The solutions will be based on smart additives (like microcapsules or microwave triggered additives) for the ‘coating’ formulations that will be activated by a specific trigger (heat, humidity, microwave, chemical).

The bold aim of the four-year project is to decrease landfilling of ca. 75% of the coated parts considered in the Decoat use cases, which cover clothing, electronic goods and automotive. A reduction in the carbon footprint by at least 30% for the considered products is aimed for. By enabling the recycling of such materials, Decoat is expected to generate on medium term a novel market of over 150 million EUR in Europe.

Image source: Pixabay.

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