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NONTOX: Removing hazardous substances to increase recycling rates of WEEE, ELV and CDW plastics

The NONTOX project aims to develop and optimize innovative solutions to increase the recycling rates of plastics waste containing hazardous substances and to produce safe and high quality secondary plastic materials. Increasing recycling rates is crucial for the implementation of a circular economy as clearly stated in the EU Plastic Strategy. NONTOX focuses on the removal of hazardous and undesired substances from plastic waste taking into account the whole value chain: sorting and pre-treatment techniques, recycling technologies but also post-treatment techniques. Valorisation of by-products and removed substances is also considered to enhance potential applications.

NONTOX will target material recovery of plastics originating from WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), ELV (End of Life Vehicles) and C&DW (Construction and Demolition Waste) streams containing hazardous additives or undesired compounds such as flame-retardants, stabilizers, fillers, etc. Main secondary plastic outputs will include for example, ABS, EPS, PS, HIPS, PE, PP. The market for these polymers is massive as together they represent about half of the EU demand for plastics and yet a significant portion of these valuable plastics is landfilled or incinerated. NONTOX will further develop two different technologies (Extruclean and CreaSolv®) to remove hazardous substances from aforementioned plastic waste streams, allowing for increased recycling rates.

NONTOX will also improve knowledge and state of the art concerning pre-treatment and sorting of plastic waste containing hazardous substances. Thermochemical conversion of non-target plastics and side streams from the main recycling processes will be investigated to increase system efficiency by integration and widen the range of final products and applications. NONTOX is conceived by a multidisciplinary consortium including internationally renowned RTOs, universities, key industrial partners and recyclers as well as product design experts.

IMDEA Energy will be responsible of the thermocatalytic conversion of non-target plastics and side streams from the new mechanical recycling processes as well as the removal and safe disposal of the hazardous substances from those streams. The expected new developments in the thermochemical conversion field will contribute to increase the recycling rate of original waste plastics avoiding land filling or incineration of those non-mechanically recyclable streams.

Partners: Teknologian tutkimuskeskus VTT Oy, Finland (Coordinator); Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V., Germany; Università degli studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Italy; Relight SRL, Italy; IMDEA Energy Foundation, Spain; AIMPLAS - Asociación de Investigacion de Materiales Plasticos y Conexas, Spain; Stena Recycling International AB, Sweden; Galea Polymers SL, Spain; ECODOM - Consorzio Italiano per il Recupero e Riciclaggio Elettrodomestici, Italy; Norner Research AS, Norway; Aalto-Korkeakoulusäätiö SR, Finland; Coolrec BV, Netherlands.

Type of Action: Research and Innovation Action (RIA)
Funding Institution/Program: The NONTOX project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 820895.
Call: H2020-SC5-2018-2019-2020 (Topic: CE-SC5-01-2018: Methods to remove hazardous substances and contaminants from secondary raw materials)
Period: June 2019 – May 2022
Principal researcher: Dr. David Serrano (david.serrano@imdea.org)
Co-Principal researcher: Dr. Juan Miguel Moreno (juanmiguel.moreno@imdea.org)

Project website: www.nontox-project.eu