Dutch recycling developer blends immiscible plastics for re-use

Mixed-plastics recycling developer Plastinum Polymer Technologies has opened a production line in the Netherlands with a capacity of 10,000 tonnes a year.

Plastinum claimed that, whereas many other recycling processes require waste to be sorted as they can only handle one type of plastic, its patented Blendymer mechanical process can handle mixtures of different polymers. It combines these into a solid amalgam which Plastinum calls Infinymer and describes as "a new thermoplastic material".

The new recycling plant is in Emmen, near Plastinum's R&D base, and was established with the support of the local municipality, which plans to supply it with mixed plastic household waste.

The company said that its Infinymers have characteristics comparable to thermoplastics such as polypropylene, polyethylene and ABS polystyrene, and claimed they could be used as a pelletised replacements for virgin plastics.

It added that "Unlike existing recycled mixed-plastic products, Infinymers have good physical and chemical properties, are injection mould ready, and can often be processed at lower temperatures ."

Plastinum is not the only one able to recycle mixed polymers into composite materials, however. Rutgers University in New Jersey has also developed technology to blend normally immiscible polymers into "recycled structural composites".

Rutgers' technology has been licensed by US-based Axion International, which has won a contract from the US Army to build railway bridges from the material. Axion has already demonstrated a recycled plastic bridge carrying a 70t tank.

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