Published February 19, 2024 | Version v1
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Summary of Key achievements of Remadyl H2020 project

Description

Polyvinyl chloride, also called PVC or simply vinyl, is one of the most widely used polymers in the world. It can be found in products such as piping, shower curtains, window frames, cable insulation, flooring and even medical equipment. Due to the long useful life of many PVC products, old PVC products can contain hazardous additives that are no longer allowed in new PVC products, therefore recycling is challenging. The EU-funded REMADYL project is tackling this important problem with (semi)-continuous processes to remove the additives and deliver high-quality REACH-compliant PVC.

The presence of legacy substances (LS) is a persistent barrier for PVC recycling as there are currently no economically viable solutions for their removal. This seriously hampers the recycling of PVC. Indeed, although the material itself is intrinsically very well suited for recycling (around 800.000 tons of PVC were recycled in 2021 within VinylPlus), however, (1) No viable methods exist to remove lead and plasticizers from PVC; (2) Mechanical recycling does not remove any of the hazardous substances from PVC and (3) Lead content in the PVC remains and is transferred into the new product.

At the end of the project, the following key achievements have been reached:

  • Three lab-scale processes for rejuvenating PVC have been developed and tested: (i) supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) cleaning technologies for phthalate removal from plasticized PVC; (ii) use of Layered double hydroxides (LDH) as scavengers for lead in the PVC melt; (iii) extraction and improving accessibility of the LS in the PVC matrix via Natural Deep Eutectic Solvents ((NA)DES) and green solvents.
  • Detection and sorting process for PVC containing legacy substances: a lead monitoring and sorting prototype was developed and validated in industrial site.
  • Pilot line development for a continuous extractive extrusion process for rejuvenating PVC: first steps for upscaling all processes were taken, a detailed report was composed pinpointing the lacking elements to further increase the TRL of the technologies.
  • Demonstration of the re-use of rejuvenated PVC materials streams: the feasibility of using rejuvenated PVC in water proofing membranes was shown. The use of rejuvenated PVC was proven in injection moulding for cable grommets. The principals of inline sorting of Pb containing materials have been proven by IRIS and Deceuninck.
  • Safe handling and re-use of the by-products: successful recovery of high purity metallic lead from comparable lead salts, and conclusive evaluation of contaminants and guidelines and methodology for the safe handling of by-products.
  • Policy contribution at European, national and regional level: Special effort was put in place for writing a Joint Policy Brief1 with CREAToR project and to the establishment of the Circular Plastics Cluster2 born thanks to the support of the Horizon Results Booster Mod.B.

This document concisely highlights the key results of the REMADYL project.

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REMADYL_Final publication of Key results_final.pdf

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Additional details

Funding

REMADYL – Removal of Legacy Substances from polyvinylchloride (PVC) via a continuous and sustainable extrusion process 821136
European Commission