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Recycling polypropylene carpets In association with Carpet Recycling UK Funded by Envirolink Northwest Jane Gardner.

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Presentation on theme: "Recycling polypropylene carpets In association with Carpet Recycling UK Funded by Envirolink Northwest Jane Gardner."— Presentation transcript:

1 Recycling polypropylene carpets In association with Carpet Recycling UK Funded by Envirolink Northwest Jane Gardner

2 Presentation Summary Project aims Types of carpet Current recycling routes Demonstration trial results Economic assessment Project conclusions

3 Project aims To develop a process for recycling polypropylene carpets To assess commercial viability of the process

4 UK Carpet sustainability Over half a million tonnes/year of carpet enters the UK waste stream Recycling rate currently less than 2% Carpets have high carbon footprint due to use of virgin materials – big sustainability gain if recycled

5 Carpet materials Polymers: – Polypropylene (PP); – Polyester/Polyethylene terephthalate (PET); – Nylon; – Chalk-filled elastomers; Natural fibres: – Wool; and – Hessian/Jute.

6 Types of carpet - woven Made by weaving the carpet pile into warp fibres with a loom Warp fibres can be polyester or PP, whilst the pile tends to be PP

7 Types of carpet - tufted Pile fibres attached to a backing layer Pile fibres - wool or PP Elastomer compound bonds fibres to the backing layer Second backing layer – made from hessian or manmade fibre such as PP

8 Carpet recycling initiatives America: CARE – Carpet America Recovery Effort – founded 2002 Europe – late 1990’s: RECAM - Recovery of Carpet Materials CRE - Carpet Recycling Europe Polyamid 2000 in Germany UK – late 2000’s: Greenback Recycling Reeds Carpets – exhibition/temporary floors

9 Existing end markets Typically low value Equestrian surfaces – additive to sand based all weather surfaces Plastic cannot be recovered once used as equestrian surface Other applications: Horticultural market

10 Axion recycling trials NIR ID sorting Size reduction Screening Extrusion

11 Size reduction Granulation –15mm screen Alternative options: –Shearing –Shredding

12 Granulated PP carpet

13 Screen to remove dust, fines High energy flip-flop screen 12x12mm deck Alternative technique –dry cleaning

14 Screening results Oversized fraction cleaner and less dusty than feed High yield loss - due to screen size of granulator (15mm) relative to flip-flop (12mm) For 12mm flip-flop - granulator needs to be 20-25mm For 15mm granulator screen - flip-flop needs to be 6- 8mm Target fractionNon-target fraction Losses OversizedUndersized- 38%59%3%

15 Lab scale extrusion Sorted PP carpet samples: –Post industrial –Post consumer Material prepared for extrusion by partial melting then granulation

16 Extrusion problems Initial batch of carpets could not be extruded Presence of un-melted fibres made from different polymers – nylon and PET Problem due to different types of carpet – woven and tufted Second batch of tufted carpet processed successfully

17 Moulded polymer Post industrial – injection moulding applications Post consumer – lower grade injection moulding, for example plant pots and buckets

18 Physical properties test Units Post industrial sample Post consumer sample MFI (at 230°C, 2.16kg)652 TensileMpa2223 Yield% Break% Densityg/cm Ash%1710

19 Commercial assessment Feed stock in Northwest - estimated at over 6,000 tonnes per annum meeting specification of: –Tufted construction; –Positively identified PP pile and backing fibres; –Dry and with no heavy contamination; –Suitable for manual handling.

20 Overall recycling scheme

21 Processing option 1

22 Processing option 2

23 Payback calculation Option 1Option 2 Plant capacitytpa7500 Capital costs££1,000,000£800,000 Power£/yr£266,000£254,800 Labour£/yr£277,000£241,000 Others£/yr£125,000£109,000 Total operating costs£/yr£668,000£604,800 Feed costs£/yr£400,000£1,250,000 Disposal£/yr£38,100 Revenue£/yr£1,940,000 Margin£/yr£833,900£47,100 PaybackYears

24 Technical conclusions Straight forward processing route: –Rigorous PP identification and sorting –Size reduction –Screening –Extrusion Finished PP: – Good physical properties, – Suitable for use in medium to low grade applications, Eg injection moulded plant pots

25 Commercial conclusions Critical success factor - correct identification of all polymer fibres within the carpet Economics of the recycling process are promising Next step: Commercial scale testing

26 Axion Consulting Tudor House Meadway Bramhall SK2 2DG


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