Recycling of polymer waste for structural and non-structural materials by using ionizing radiation

Open for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code

F23036

CRP

2276

Approved Date

20 October 2020

Status

3 - Active - Ongoing

Start Date

14 July 2021

Expected End Date

30 September 2026

Description

According to data, half the amount of plastic produced during 1950-2015 has been produced in the past 3 years. Consequently, plastic production has an annually increasing trend and by 2050, around 12 billion tons of plastic is expected to accumulate in landfills and in the environment. The visibility of plastic waste is increasing because of its accumulation in recent decades and its negative impact on the surrounding terrestrial and marine environment and in human health. Unlike organic waste, plastic can take hundreds to thousands of years to decompose in nature. Plastic waste is causing floods by clogging drains, causing respiratory issues when burned, shortening animal lifespans when consumed, and contaminating water bodies when dumped into canals and oceans. In oceans, plastic is accumulating in swirling gyres that are miles wide. Under ultraviolet light from the sun, plastic is degrading into “microplastics” that are almost impossible to recover and that are disrupting food chains and degrading natural habitats.
There are many ways to curb plastic waste—by producing less, consuming less, producing alternatives eco-friendly products and better managing the waste, what involves keeping the waste in the loop as much as possible (recycling), generating useful products. Taking these actions requires engagement from numerous stakeholders in society, including citizens, governments, community organizations, businesses, and manufacturers. Policy solutions, increased awareness, and improved design and disposal processes, among others, can minimize the impact of plastic waste on society.
The radiation technology has been successfully used for the recycling of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and rubbers and provides a potential approach towards effective environmental solutions to this important problem. However, opportunities exist for new novel applications for scalable solutions. Some promising results have shown radiation technology is able to convert plastic waste into a variety of useful purposes presenting powerful opportunities for environmental sustainability and material innovations.
The CRP tailor to demonstrate how radiation technology complements the existing recycling steps, to produce novel materials/value-added products, generating quality feedstock and reducing the energy and cost involved in the conventional process

Objectives

The overall objective of this CRP is the development, demonstration, and scaling-up feasibility studies to optimize the recycling of plastic waste by radiation technologies

Specific objectives

To develop processes, techniques, protocols for radiation recycling of plastic wastes for structural and non-structural applications

To investigate key factors behind scientific challenges in radiation recycling, such as structural and functional parameters

To optimize the radiation process parameters considering synergistic effects when radiation technologies are combined with other conventional treatments, to achieve efficient degradation or repurposing effects on the plastic wastes

To endeavour in transfer of research results to end-users;

To establish and develop the network of collaboration in the field of radiation-recycling.

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