In Germany, 3 million tons of packaging waste is produced annually. How can high value secondary raw materials be recovered from this waste? Is it possible to produce new packaging materials from used packaging? These questions are addressed in a new research project managed by professors of the Pforzheim University. In project “Marker based sorting and recycling system for plastic packaging” (MaReK) professors Dr.-Ing. Claus Lang-Koetz and Dr.-Ing. Jörg Woidasky are collaborating with several industrial partners and one research partner in order to develop a new sorting system for plastic. The project was formally started earlier this month with a Kick-Off meeting at Pforzheim University.
In Germany, 3 million tons of packaging waste is produced annually. Packaging is discarded daily in each household and is then collected in yellow refuse bags or waste bins. How can high value secondary raw materials be recovered from this waste? Is it possible to produce new packaging materials from used packaging?
These questions are addressed in a new research project managed by professors of the Pforzheim University. In project “Marker based sorting and recycling system for plastic packaging”, or “MaReK” in short, professors Dr.-Ing. Claus Lang-Koetz and Dr.-Ing. Jörg Woidasky are collaborating with several industrial partners and one research partner in order to develop a new sorting system for plastics waste. The project was formally started earlier this month with a Kick-Off meeting at Pforzheim University.
In addition to the professors, companies Polysecure GmbH (Freiburg), Werner & Mertz GmbH (Mainz), Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland GmbH (Köln), the Institute of Microstructure Technology of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), subcontractors CMO-SYS GmbH and Nägele Mechanik GmbH and Umwelttechnik BW GmbH (State Agency for Environmental Technologies and Resource Efficiency of the State of Baden-Württemberg) as associated partner are cooperating for this project. It is funded with a grant of approx. 2 million Euros by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the framework programme „Research for Sustainable Development“ (FONA3) in funding scheme „Plastics in the Environment“.
At the core of the new sorting system is the so-called „Tracer-Based Sorting (TBS)“. By means of this technology, developed and patented by project partner Polysecure, plastic packaging sorting clearly exceeds conventional sorting approaches. Packaging can thus be sorted according to significantly more differentiated criteria than the conventional plastic type sorting that is currently available.
To this end research partner KIT is further developing the fluorescence marker substances being employed in the project. Yet, the overall objective is the pilot application under technical conditions: In a first step, marker substances will be added to packaging materials or labels of the packaging of the brands FROSCH and EMSAL from project partner Werner & Mertz.
The high-tech marker substance shows fluorescent properties when irradiated with a specific kind of light during the sorting process. The sorting machine to be developed and built by Polysecure in Freiburg is exploiting this effect for packaging identification and sorting of the marked objects. In this way plastic waste can be separated and can be specifically recycled – independently of form, colour and contamination.
“By using our fluorescence markers, plastic packaging can be separated quickly and securely, even if they have identical chemical compositions” says Jochen Moesslein, CEO of Polysecure. The development of the sorting machine is a collaboration between Polysecure and CMO-SYS GmbH and Nägele Mechanik GmbH. Bryce Richards of KIT is conducting the research on new materials at the Institute of Microstructure Technology ”We are developing marker materials so that in future a wealthof different materials can be marked” states the professor from Karlsruhe who is head of the department of Nanophotonics for Energy.
TBS technology not only allows for conventional differentiation of different plastic materials but is probing additional properties such as minor but crucial compositional differences and application.. This is very relevant for the material flow management of recycling systems as the “Grüner Punkt” that are analysing the integration and implementation of marker applications in the existing system.
“The MaReK approach allows for food packaging to be recycled to the initial application again. Also, this is the first time different types of the same polymer can be distinguished. The main objective is to meet the increased recycling quota as of 2020” explains Dr. Michael Heyde of Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland. Consequently, TBS technology can reduce the use of primary raw material and thus lower environmental impact.
Within the scope of the research project the entire recycling process will be analysed and further developed. “On the one hand we are assessing marker materials and application areas of the retrieved secondary raw materials, and on the other hand we are working together to optimize the waste management. Moreover, we are observing the innovation effects of the technology in the market environment” says Claus Lang-Koetz. This interdisciplinary collaboration will provide the basis for an increase in material recycling of plastic packaging in the sense of the safeguarding of raw materials and reducing environmental hazards in Germany.
Annika Borchers | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
A materials scientist’s dream come true
21.08.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Novel sensors could enable smarter textiles
17.08.2018 | University of Delaware
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.08.2018 | Life Sciences
21.08.2018 | Medical Engineering