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Neorec targets difficult waste

Anaerobic degradation to recycle end-of-life tyres and old mattresses under development.

22nd March 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Valencia, Spain


Plastics technology centre Aimplas, based in Valencia, Spain, is developing advanced chemical and mechanical recycling solutions to prevent complex waste such as end-of-life tyres, old mattresses and wire being sent to landfills.

It is now working on the Neorec project, funded by the Valencian Innovation Agency (AVI) and ERDF, with the aim of reducing current limitations on recycling this complex waste.

According to estimates by the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers Association (ETRMA), up to four million tons of end-of-life tyres are generated each year in Europe, and Spain alone accounts for 300,000 tons. Most of the polyurethane foam from the automotive industry, mattresses and similar products is landfilled, not to mention other difficult-to-recycle plastic waste such as wire. According to Plastics Europe, more than 6.5 million tons of plastic are sent to landfills each year.

The chemical recycling processes being developed at Aimplas include where the aim is to isolate and select microorganisms that anaerobically biodegrade biopolymers faster than conventional organisms, which will help establish a more efficient recycling process.

Work is also being done to use partial chain-breaking processes to obtain plastics with the same initial specifications. According to Eva Verdejo, chemical recycling group leader and researcher, the goals is “to reduce the consumption of resources by reintroducing high value-added materials back into the value chain and generating products and by-products that can be used in the plastics industry, thus minimising the environmental impact of waste accumulation”.

In order to provide broad coverage of the entire plastics industry, Aimplas is collaborating on this project with raw material manufacturers, converters, waste managers and recyclers, including Girsa, Acteco, Ube, Omar Coatings, Permarsa, Eslava Plásticos and PET and Cia.

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