A new association in Belgium is aiming to improving plastics recycling in the country by bringing together plastics and textiles companies.
Four organisations – Federplast.be, Centexbel, Febem and Plasticvision – are taking charge of the CORE (Controlled Recycling) project, which is due to come to an end in 2015. The project's budget amounts to €626,145, with €127,629 (20%) coming from the four founding partners.
Geert Scheys, spokesperson from Federplast.be, says the combination of plastics and textiles makes sense because both industries use a lot of the same raw materials.
“We both make use of materials such as polyurethanes, polyolefins, PVC, so it is possible that the waste from one sector could be recycled then used as s raw materials from the other sector,” he told European Plastics News.
One example is recycling old PET bottles into polyester fabric.
A major initiative for the three-year CORE project is looking at recycling polyvinyl butyrate (PVB), which is most commonly used to make laminated safety glass for car windshields.
“There is a small firm in Denmark which uses recycled PVB so there is obviously a market, although it is a very small one at the moment,” said Scheys. “The problem is that once it is recycled PVC is not pure enough to be used for its original applications.”
One option CORE is looking at is using recycled PVB as a coating material.
The project is also calling for the European Commission to establish European End-of-Waste criteria for waste plastics.
Most important is that a plastics convertor who uses end-of-waste material should not be considered to be a waste treatment company, because these kinds of companies have to comply with other legal and environmental requirements than a plastics converter,” said Scheys. “Also it is important is that waste does not have to comply with REACH legislation, but plastic materials (also end-of-waste plastics) does.”
Changes to the regulations are necessary to keep the European plastics recycling industry competitive, especially when facing countries in Asia, he said.