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Using analytical techniques to characterize the composition of post-consumer plastic packaging waste

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Plastic packaging is diverse and the compositional complexity even increases after collection. This complexity causes problems during mechanical recycling, such as immiscibility of polymer blends, or process related issues, such as coking during thermochemical recycling. Various analytical techniques are needed to characterize plastic packaging waste, as it contains both macromolecular contamination and trace elements. In this presentation, we present a detailed analysis of the polymer and elemental composition of different plastic packaging waste streams (i.e., PET, PE, PP, and PS rigids and mono- and multilayer films) and give more insights in the required analytical techniques.As a first step, 102 typical packaging items were collected at a Belgian waste sorting plant. The composition of each packaging is determined at the level of the separable packaging compounds (e.g., cap, label and bottle) via a combination of following analytical techniques: Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), polarized light microscopy (POM), inductive coupled plasmaU+2013optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), CHNS-O analyzer, and combustion ion chromatography (CIC).The results show that with the performed analytical techniques, the polymer and elemental composition of plastic packaging materials can be characterized. It was shown that certain packaging types, such as PET bottles, have a relatively pure polymer composition, where others, such as multilayer films, consist of up to 9 different polymers. Also the elemental composition significantly varied across different packaging types, e.g., PET bottles contain on average 302 ppm Cl and have a total analyzed metal content of around 500 ppm, whereas multilayer films contain on average 2904 ppm Cl and have a total analyzed metal content of around 2500 ppm. Based on this analytical part, which has created a unique dataset, potential implications for mechanical and thermochemical recycling are summarized and it is shown that such characterizations can be used to elaborate guidelines for improved waste management and design for recycling.
Boek: ACS Spring 2022, Abstracts
Aantal pagina's: 1
Jaar van publicatie:2022
Toegankelijkheid:Closed