Impact Recycling Ltd
Difficulties in material-handling of household flexible film (HFF) makes separation of the 30% multi-layer fraction from the 70% monolayer fraction a significant challenge with no commercially viable solution currently available. Existing separation technologies such as near infra-red (NIR), cannot identify multi-layer HFF which acts as a harmful contaminant in the compounding process, blocking filters and preventing recycling of the monolayer.
The second major issue facing the industry is the variability of the Melt Flow Index (MFI) in HFF waste. A variable MFI presents processing issues that prevents recycling into consumer grade film and encourages downcycling.
This project addresses both these challenges through a combination of two technologies: BOSS-2D (Baffled Oscillation Separation System) and PRE (Plastic Recycling Enhancer) additive.
BOSS-2D is a patented technology which separates the problematic multi-layer from the monolayer flexibles enabling recycling into consumer-grade film. BOSS-2D is a water-based, density technology separating HFF by oscillating baffles in a water tank creating vortices that flush the multi-layer material down through the baffles away from the monolayer, creating two separate streams with 95% purity.
PRE is a patented monomer-based additive with magnetic properties that are attracted to the metal walls of the compounder, which allows it to form a skin at the boundary-layer of the polymer. This regulates the MFI during the moulding process with no effect on the mechanical properties. PRE reduces compounding temperatures & thermal degradation and allows re-colouring with masterbatch, significantly improving the recyclability of the polymers.
Demand for HFF in the UK is 450,000 tons per annum with uses such as carrier bags, multipacks and household packaging. Currently, only 5000 (#5) tons of HFF is being recycled in the UK. This project will increase that volume being recycled in the UK by 500% and serve as a demonstrator for future plants.