Pyrolysis of plastic packaging waste: A comparison of plastic residuals from material recovery facilities with simulated plastic waste

A Adrados, I de Marco, B M Caballero, A López, M F Laresgoiti, A Torres
Waste Management 2012, 32 (5): 826-32
Pyrolysis may be an alternative for the reclamation of rejected streams of waste from sorting plants where packing and packaging plastic waste is separated and classified. These rejected streams consist of many different materials (e.g., polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), aluminum, tetra-brik, and film) for which an attempt at complete separation is not technically possible or economically viable, and they are typically sent to landfills or incinerators. For this study, a simulated plastic mixture and a real waste sample from a sorting plant were pyrolyzed using a non-stirred semi-batch reactor. Red mud, a byproduct of the aluminum industry, was used as a catalyst. Despite the fact that the samples had a similar volume of material, there were noteworthy differences in the pyrolysis yields. The real waste sample resulted, after pyrolysis, in higher gas and solid yields and consequently produced less liquid. There were also significant differences noted in the compositions of the compared pyrolysis products.

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