Chemical recycling of plastic wastes made from polyethylene (LDPE and HDPE) and polypropylene (PP)

D S Achilias, C Roupakias, P Megalokonomos, A A Lappas, Epsilon V Antonakou
Journal of Hazardous Materials 2007 November 19, 149 (3): 536-42
The recycling of either model polymers or waste products based on low-density polyethylene (LDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polypropylene (PP) is examined using the dissolution/reprecipitation method, as well as pyrolysis. In the first technique, different solvents/non-solvents were examined at different weight percent amounts and temperatures using as raw material both model polymers and commercial products (packaging film, bags, pipes, food-retail outlets). The recovery of polymer in every case was greater than 90%. FT-IR spectra and tensile mechanical properties of the samples before and after recycling were measured. Furthermore, catalytic pyrolysis was carried out in a laboratory fixed bed reactor with an FCC catalyst using again model polymers and waste products as raw materials. Analysis of the derived gases and oils showed that pyrolysis gave a mainly aliphatic composition consisting of a series of hydrocarbons (alkanes and alkenes), with a great potential to be recycled back into the petrochemical industry as a feedstock for the production of new plastics or refined fuels.

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