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Project on PLA recycling
 25 Jan 2012

At the beginning of 2011, the Cornet project “PLA-2nd life” started, for a duration of 2 years. The Cornet project “PLA-2nd life” is coordinated by DKI and aims to study the recycling of waste from PLA production for its re-use in food packaging. The project is supported by Wallonia. Partners are DKI (Germany), IKV (Germany), VKC (Flanders) and CELABOR (Wallonia).
 
PLA packaging can be manufactured with the usual polymer transformation techniques. Some production waste is generated during the production process. Usually, this waste is not valorised because the effect of recycling on the properties of the final material is unknown.
 
This project should help European converters, mainly SMEs, against Asian competition. First, different sources of production waste will be identified and characterised. Additives will be synthesised in order to improve the molar mass. Packaging containing different sorts and quantity of production waste will be manufactured by injection, extrusion and thermoforming process. Their mechanical, optical and barrier properties will be tested, as well as migration and biodegradation. An LCA analysis will highlight the ecological impact of an internal recycling on the overall process.
 
The results of these investigations will show which conditions and which fraction of PLA production waste can be recycled in order to reduce production costs of PLA packaging without diminishing their properties.



 
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