Partners in the Polymark project say that its technical development is just the “starting point” for the technology which identifies and sorts higher value elements, particularly PET, in the plastics waste stream.
“Our research partners have successfully developed a complete technology package,” said Patrick Peuch from Petcore Europe. “By publicly releasing these results, in agreement with our Polymark Consortium and the approval of the European Commission, we aim to raise early awareness and to give unconstrained access to the widest number of interested parties for their faster consideration and longer-term planning.”
A Polymark workshop was organised in Brussels on 15 March by Petcore Europe and the European Federation of Bottled Waters (EFBW). At this, the technology was presented to more than 80 particpants from the PET value chain.
The project has developed chemical markers for coating on a bottle or on a label. After identification and sorting, this coated marker can be removed by existing recycling plant washing.
As well as hearing about this marker, participants were updated on the technology being developed to detect the marker and identify the polymer in order to separate the post-consumer plastic packaging. Another presentation focused on the development and functionality of the industrial scale sorting system.
Addressing the commercialisation question, Casper van den Dungen, vice-president of the Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) association, stated that the Polymark project is providing a first platform for the industry to communicate on tracer technologies.
The recycling industry is encouraging Europe to standardise the use of such innovative sorting solutions, but he said it is important to keep in mind that there are still a number of barriers, and further discussions are needed amongst all interested stakeholders.
"However, Polymark marks a starting point and gives a certainty that such innovation is possible," said Van den Dungen.
* At the Plastics Recycling Show Europe, Casper van den Dungen will chair a PET session during the conference, which will provide more information on the Polymark technology. The exhibition and conference, organised by Crain Communications and PRE, takes place in Amsterdam on 29-30 March. Register for free attendance at www.prseventeurope.com.