New plastic product made out of waste from the textile industry is the title of an industrial symbiosis project carried out in collaboration between members from the Packaging Cluster and AEI Tèxtils. It had the aim of introducing to the market plastic products made of polypropylene recovered from textile industry waste.
The project, co-financed by the Waste Agency of Catalonia, began in January 2019, and ended on March 30, 2021. It was implemented by the companies LIASA and NG PLASTICS, members of AEI Tèxtils and the Packaging Cluster, respectively. Both clusters have actively collaborated in the development of the project.
The first task was the separation and selection of the waste resulting from the industrial polypropylene yarn extrusion process, carried out by LIASA, manufacturer of laces, elastic bands, ribbons, technical wires, and polypropylene yarn.
LIASA cannot reuse the waste recovered from the production process as raw material, as the resulting yarn would not reach the technical properties required for its final application. For this reason, the project originated with the aim of finding a way out for this waste in another industry.
LIASA processed the resulting waste through a transformation process, to become a resource for another industry; a pellet to be used in the extrusion of plastics with technical requirements that make its use viable.
NG Plastics, manufacturer of plastic packaging for various sectors, has used LIASA’s pellets to produce new packaging products with a level of quality and characteristics equal to those manufactured with virgin material. The result was a part of a cava bottle cap, obtained through injection process. This product is manufactured with 100% recycled material.
To determine the environmental impact of the process, a life cycle assessment (LCA) was developed covering the grinding and extrusion processes, given that the injection process does not vary between the use of virgin and recycled matter. The analysis was carried out by Eurecat Technological Centre.
The result determined that the polypropylene yarn recycling process is environmentally friendly and significantly reduces the environmental impacts and carbon footprint. For example, each kg of recycled polypropylene yarn prevents the emission of 1.11 kg of CO2 equivalent.
NG Plastics expects to produce 5 million units of cava caps per year using recycled polypropylene pellets, which represents savings of 36.5 tonnes of virgin raw material and a reduction in the emissions of more than 40.5 tonnes of CO2.
This project arose as a result of a previous project, PACTEX, promoted by both clusters and also co-financed by the Waste Agency of Catalonia, which aimed to establish synergies between companies in both clusters and to promote the effective use of material resources through the reduction of the origin of industrial waste, the reuse of products, and an improved recyclability and waste recovery.