A new collaborative demonstration initiative – one in a series of supply chain projects funded by the Welsh Government and led by WRAP Cymru – has been launched with the aim of showing how plastic materials with no existing end-market can be turned into composites suitable for destined high-performance building applications. These projects aim to boost confidence in the use of post-consumer recycled materials in products already on the market by demonstrating the economic and environmental benefits of doing so.
The project is scaling up from an earlier initiative in which a range of hard-to-recycle materials such as crisp packs and plastic food pouches that were turned into outdoor furniture. The focus here will be complex plastics taken from cars through to large domestic appliances as well as awkward post-consumer packaging such as laminated plastic-coated paper board, single-use cups and films.
The multi-participant project will be led by the UK ‘sustaintech’ consultancy, Nextek, joined by three other companies: Fiberight, whose process recovers materials from mixed waste including paper fibres and an abundance of currently un-recycled film; MBA Polymers, a recycler specialised plastics recovered from ASR (automotive shredder residue) and end of life durable goods, who annually produces approximately 20,000 million tonnes of high quality single-polymer compounds. During the process, MBA also generates some 9,700 million tonnes of mixed material, which currently only goes to recovery and landfill. The third participant is the UK’s leading composite decking manufacturer, Ecodek. This company will extrude the composites from the project into high-performance building materials.
The aim is to produce a durable, waterproof and robust recycled compound that is fit for use in numerous high-performance product applications. This result will reduce reliance on imported timber, landfills and high CO2 activities such as Waste to Energy.