Projects

InReP – An Integrated approach towards Recycling of Plastics

ISPT Team - Ronald Korstanje

Developing technologies in sorting, mechanical recycling and chemical recycling that make high quality recycled plastics available for the two dominating types of polymer as feedstock: polyolefins (PE/PP) and PET.

Our integrated approach in the recycling of plastics will result in systemic and technological solutions for sorting & washing of plastic waste, mechanical and chemical recycling and upcycling of polyolefins (PE & PP) and polyesters.

Plastics significantly contribute to a sustainable society through its functionalities: i.e. plastic packagings are light-weight, transparent, strong and offer a barrier against contamination. However, the downsides of our current plastic usage (leakage of plastics, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and habitat destruction) ask for change. A circular plastic value chain is the solution, but to achieve this the quality of sorted products as input to recycling processes needs to improve.

In InReP we work together to make plastics circular! For all stakeholders to co-operate we need a common shared understanding of what the plastic challenge entails. We need to understand what our role is in this challenge and what can and cannot be achieved with conventional and new technologies. But these technologies are limited and often collide with invested interests. Moreover, in most cases recycled plastics do not meet all the requirements of the industry. This leads to the conclusion that we need new, preferably cheap and environmentally friendly, sorting and recycling technologies. 

InReP’s ambition: technology for high quality recycled plastics

In 2030 the availability of high quality and fit-for-purpose recycled plastics will have significantly increased by implementation of InReP’s main result: the development of technologies in sorting, mechanical recycling and chemical recycling that make high quality recycled plastics available for the two dominating polymer types: polyolefins (PE/PP) and PET.  

Results

Our integrated approach in the recycling of plastics will result in systemic (R1) and technological solutions for sorting & washing of plastic waste (R2), mechanical (R3) and chemical recycling (R4, R6) and upcycling (R5, R7) of polyolefins (PE & PP) and polyesters (PET). The obtained knowledge on the production of high-quality recycled plastics can easily be transferred to the recycling of other plastic waste streams.

Furthermore, InReP aims to progress several processes (optimized sorting and washing, mechanical recycling of PP/PE, glycolysis of PET, naphtha from PP/PE and preparation of valuable monomers from PP/PET) to prototype and/or improved performance at existing pilot facilities. InReP will boost the attractiveness of recycling, contribute to the circular transition (technical, social, economic), increase the competitiveness of companies involved within the consortium, and encourage academic research and education within this field. The results from InReP create immediate impact, which can be multiplied when students, professionals and researchers are informed and can learn from each other. That is why we think it is important to pay a lot of attention to communication and dissemination activities. Among others, the InReP project will set up a learning community. 

InReP activities

  • Preparation of a quantitative model sketching the future plastic system.  
  • Development of a modular, integral sorting and/ or washing process for delivery of fit-for-purpose sorted products.
  • Adapting chemical recycling (glycolysis) to enable processing of contaminated PET. Development of upcycling technology for PET towards valuable monomers. Optimization of mechanical recycling towards food-grade PE&PP.
  • Improving chemical recycling (pyrolysis) of polyolefin waste towards food-grade PE&PP.
  • Development of upcycling technology for polyolefins.

This is a project of the Circular Plastics Initiative, co-founded by ISPT and DPI.

Grant provider

Topsector Energiesubsidie van het Ministerie van Economische Zaken en Klimaat.

Sustainable development goals

This project contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Project partners

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