Many textiles and plastic materials consist of more than one chemical component, hindering their recyclability, such as coated and laminated products. Ideally, all the components of a used object would be separated and fed to the most suited recycling streams.
Decoat has been established to investigate triggerable smart polymer material systems and appropriate recycling processes. The solutions will be based on smart additives (like microcapsules or microwave triggered additives) for the ‘coating’ formulations that will be activated by a specific trigger (heat, humidity, microwave, chemical).
The project consortium is led by Belgian R&D center Centebel and consists of 17 partners from across Europe—including AIMPLAS, a Plastics Technology Centre—ranging in the value chain from design to manufacturing, NGOs, and research and innovation.
The focus of the consortium is coated and painted textiles and plastic materials which are not currently recyclable. Ambitious plastic recycling targets of 50% have been set by the European Plastics Industry. To meet these targets, smart solutions that enable the circular use of textile and plastic parts with multi-layer coatings will be considered.
The aim of this four-year project is to decrease landfilling of 75% of the coated parts considered in the Decoat use cases—which cover clothing, electronic goods, and automotive—and achieve a 30% reduction in carbon footprint. By enabling the recycling of such materials, Decoat is expected to generate a novel market of over 150 million euro in Europe.
AIMPLAS’ role in the Decoat project is the selection of components for the pilot recycling line, as well as taking part in setup and evaluation of the pilot line recycling outdoor gear, household electronics, buses, and automotive applications. Moreover, AIMPLAS will tackle the quality analysis of the recycled materials and evaluation of their potential use.
AIMPLAS’ fields of work are related to technological research and development on plastic materials and products, their transformation processes, and their recyclability and sustainability. AIMPLAS has pilot plants and testing laboratories that enable the full characterization of both waste and recycled materials, including chemical, optical, morphological, mechanical, and physical properties. The company also has experience in selective separation of complex wastes, decontamination of recycled plastics for the elimination of hazardous substances and/or odour, improvement of recycled properties of plastics through additivation and compounding, recycling of thermoplastics and elastomers, optimization of recycling processes and the properties of recycled plastics.