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A solvent-based process will be used to recover polymers from multi-layer flexible packaging and fiber-reinforced plastics, and sorting technologies have been installed in New Zealand’s first PET recycling plant.

High-tech reclaimers partner: Circular Polymers, a California company using an advanced separation equipment to recover plastics from carpet, signed an off-take agreement with a startup commercializing a PP purification process. Circular Polymers, which was highlighted by Plastics Recycling Update in November, is producing a PP feedstock for use by PureCycle Technologies, a company that’s building a plant in southern Ohio to generate high-quality PP from post-consumer sources. PureCycle is commercializing technology developed by Procter & Gamble.

Solvent-based recovery project: A three-year project in the European Union will advance the use of a solvent-based recycling technology on multi-material flexible packaging and fiber-reinforced plastics used in vehicles. According to Spanish plastics research center AIMPLAS, the MultiCycle project, which has a budget of 9.7 million euros (about $11 million) will use the CreaSolv process to selectively recover polymers from the challenging streams. Developed by the German research institute Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging, CreaSolv has been used to recover PS from construction foams with flame retardants and tested by Unilever on multi-layer flexible packaging.

Boosted RPET: Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Denver introduced a bio-based monomer into recycled PET to create a recycled resin with superior properties. Cosmos magazine reported on the chemistry innovation, which created two different fiber-reinforced plastics suitable for use in a number of durable goods.

Newly designed extruder: Plastics Technology reports that researchers at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have unveiled a prototype of a new cylindrical extruder they say offers distinct advantages over those already on the market. The extruder’s large diameter combined with a shallow screw channel makes it possible to process problematic materials. The researchers also cite the device’s relative portability and low cost as advantages.

PS depolymerization: Oregon-based pyrolysis company Agilyx and polystyrene industry initiative Styrenics Circular Solutions (SCS) worked together to test depolymerization of post-consumer PS. The results were promising, the partners announced. Formed in December, SCS provided mixed-plastic samples, mainly from food packaging, from several European countries. Agilyx evaluated the composition and processed the plastic into monomers, which can be used to make new plastic. As part of a separate partnership with virgin PS producer Americas Styrenics (AmSty), Agilyx has shipped its first commercial truckload of styrene monomers to an AmSty production facility in Louisiana.

Sorting system investments: Sesotec supplied two bottle sorters and a flake sorter for New Zealand’s first PET recycling plant. The equipment provider said it installed the equipment at a Wellington facility owned by Flight Group. The $8.8 million investment included a wash line; Sesotec Varisort MN, which separates PET bottles from other polymers and metals; Sesotec Varisort CN, which separates clear from colored PET; and a Sesotec Flake Purifier, which removes off-colors, other polymers and small metal pieces from the clear PET flakes. The Flight Plastics facility can process 6,000 metric tons per year, about three-quarters of all PET collected in the island country.

NIR detectable food trays: Food packaging maker Faerch is selling an 80 percent post-consumer package line that can replace commonly used black CPET trays, according to Resource magazine. The product line is made of mixed-color PET scrap and no colorants are added, resulting in a package that’s identifiable by NIR sorters. For situations in which a black tray is unavoidable, the company offers what it calls CPET ID, which includes a black colorant that allows NIR sorters to identify the polymer. In related news, EPPM magazine reports that Irish company Quinn Packaging has released a sortable black PET tray. The Detecta by Quinn packaging line includes a black color additive allowing NIR sorters to identify the polymer.

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