Mechanical and Thermochemical Recycling of Mixed Plastic Waste

The MATTER project aims to evaluate the recycling of mixed (post-consumer) plastic waste streams and to use the generated data to develop a decision supporting framework. Technical and market-based criteria will be developed to support an optimal plastic waste management system. More specifically, the project will focus on the P+ fraction (all plastics packaging waste) of the extended P+MD collection and recycling scheme. Partners from across the whole value chain are included in the project consortium: separation and pretreatment (Indaver and Bulk.ID), mechanical recycling (Borealis and ECO-oh!) and thermochemical recycling (Indaver and Borealis). Organizations such Fost+, Plarebel and OVAM will be closely involved in the project execution. Sustainability analyses will enable the development of a decision-supporting framework.

By generating general knowledge on the recycling of mixed plastic waste and specific knowledge on the optimization of the P+MD recycling scheme, the valorization of the project is twofold. On short-term, the collection of an extra 50.000-150.000 tons of mixed plastic waste is expected for the P+MD scheme, most of which are packaging materials for which not always alternatives to incineration are available today. The results of the MATTER project will therefore be essential for the development of sustainable recycling solutions for this significant amount of waste. In the longer run, the general recycling knowledge can result in extra activities on the processing of other plastic waste fractions.

Project Results

On 25 November 2020, Ghent University hosted a webinar to present the final results and conclusions of the two Catalisti-ICON projects MATTER & PROFIT. The webinar presented some techno-scientific insights in valorising plastics from comingled waste, chemical vs. mechanical recycling and what the new P+MD bag will mean for Belgium. The main conclusions and their implications for plastic recycling were discussed during a panel conversation moderated by Kim Ragaert (Ghent University), with panelists Erik Moerman (Indaver), Nico Kimpe (Vanheede), Jan Van Havenbergh (Catalisti), Steven De Meester and Philippe Gendebien (Fost Plus). The information about MATTER starts at 25:01.

Project Details
Project type: ICON
Approved on: 18/04/2018
Duration: 30/04/2018 – 30/10/2020
Total budget: €1.669.761
Subsidy: €1.187.783
Project Partners

Development and application of a predictive modelling approach for household packaging waste flows in sorting facilities by Kerstin Kleinhans, Michelle Hallemans, SophieHuysveld, Gwenny Thomassen, KimRagaert, Kevin Van Geem, Martijn Roosen, Nicolas Mys, Jo Dewulf, Steven De Meester
Waste Management, Volume 120, 1 February 2021, Pages 290-302 – DOI 10.1016/j.wasman.2020.11.056

A recycler’s perspective on the implications of REACH and food contact material (FCM) regulations for the mechanical recycling of FCM plastics by Ellen De Tandt, Cody Demuytere, Elke Van Asbroeck, Hiram Moerman, Nicolas Mys, Gianni Vyncke, Laurens Delva, An Vermeulen, Peter Ragaert, Steven De Meester, Kim Ragaert
Waste Management, Volume 119, 1 January 2021, Pages 315-329 – DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2020.10.012

Detailed Analysis of the Composition of Selected Plastic Packaging Waste Products and Its Implications for Mechanical and Thermochemical Recycling by Martijn Roosen, Nicolas Mys, Marvin Kusenberg, Pieter Billen, Ann Dumoulin, Jo Dewulf, Kevin M. Van Geem, Kim Ragaert, and Steven De Meester
Environ. Sci. Technol. 2020 – DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c03371

Microstructural Contributions of Different Polyolefins to the Deformation Mechanisms of Their Binary Blends by Astrid Van Belle, Ruben Demets, Nicolas Mys, Karen Van Kets, Jo Dewulf, Kevin Van Geem, Steven De Meester, and Kim Ragaert
Polymers 2020, 12(5), 1171 – DOI: 10.3390/polym12051171