Worldwide polymer production has mounted to over 300 million tons and is likely to keep growing. Currently, its production grows at an even faster rate than economy does. Polymers represent about one fifth in value of all the raw materials needed for consumer products and constructions (excluding raw materials for energy production).
The production of polymers causes a range of environmental impacts. To begin with the production process is characterized by a high oil consumption. Next to the unpleasant view, plastic materials are harmful to ecosystems when released into the environment. Moreover plastics debris does not degrade in the environment, but tends to accumulate, creating long-term environmental problems.
However, while recycling avoids the disturbance of ecosystems , reduces geo-political dependencies, adds value to the local industry, creates jobs, and prevents more than 2 kg oil equivalents for every kilogram produced polymer, worldwide polymer recycling rates are very low. In Europe for example, the value of recycle polymers accounts to only 2% of the yearly consumed polymer value. This clearly indicates the daunting challenge ahead of us.
By turning plastic wastes into high quality secondary raw material resources the MDS technology can effectively decrease the amount of plastics which are currently either improperly disposed of or burned in incinerators. In this
Plastics Recyclers Europe's video on how to Increase plastics recycling:
way Urban Mining Corp will promote a more rational use of resources and will contribute to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other adverse environmental impacts of the plastics life cycle.
From the total consumption of plastic materials, nearly half are polyolefins, i.e. PE and PP. Today, Polyolefin recycling is mainly based on the relatively pure but limited post-industrial flow, since these wastes can be made into high-purity product materials by existing and cost-effective process technology. In the ambition to increase recycling percentages, the polyolefin recycling industry and their end-users are forced to look for alternative resources. In principle, post-consumer wastes, such as household waste, Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW), Waste from Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), and Automotive Shredder Residues (ASR) provide a five to ten times larger reservoir of polyolefins than post-industrial wastes. However, these waste streams are also much more complex mixtures of materials and hence much more difficult to recycle.
The largest MDS application for polymers is rigid packaging waste, and the polyolefin fraction in particular. Our highly accurate density sorting process is expected to double the recovery rate of rigid plastics from packaging waste and can separate the mixed plastics into PP, several PE, PET and PS products at lower cost and higher selectivity than the state-of-the-art Near Infra-Red (NIR) sensing and ejection technologies. By doing this, recycling of packaging polymers will become economically more attractive and at the same time reduce the pressure on plastic manufacturers that have difficulty sourcing sufficient volume of secondary polymers at a consistent quality.