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Chemical binders developed to recycle plastics into new products

A method to recycle plastic using a chemical binder rather than heat is being developed by a team at Bradford University. A pilot plant at the university is running trials of cold extrusion with different processes, feed stock and additives. Traditional methods of extruding recycled plastics use a lot of energy to melt the materials heating them up to 200 degrees centigrade. In the developmental process waste plastic is ground into small granules then a chemical binder is used to stick the particles together. Project leader Raj Patel said: We realised that sustainability and waste is a big issue, so we decided to develop new materials from recycled plastics, including the rubber backing from waste carpet, about a year ago. The foam we have produced through our cold extrusion process can be used for fittings in cars and potentially as an acoustic and thermal barrier in houses. Contributing to the project are the Local Authority Green Business Network, acoustic materials companies Hush and Acoustechs, fibre recycler Anglofelt and extruders Aspin. Anglofelt is aiming to bring a cold extruded product into the market place in the next few months. Patel added: With this process we can make high value products out of waste, so the profit margins are good and the situation is win, win. The Challenge is to extend this process to other types of waste in the future.

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