Having a blast

With landfill costs expected to rise by £3/tonne from 2005/6, companies are under pressure to find new ways of managing their waste. Untreated waste plastics last for years in valuable space when landfilled, making recycling a necessary and attractive option.

Two British companies, BIP and IDI, have co-operated to develop a valuable new process which enables waste thermosetting moulding powders to be recycled. Midlands Environmental Business Club is managing the demonstration project through a £76,375 grant from Biffaward, an environment fund which utilises landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services.

The award has meant that some 1,000 tonnes a year of waste feedstock plastics will be processed for use as blasting media to strip paint from aircraft and other sensitive substrates. In some applications blasting will replace solvent stripping that uses trichloroethelene, a material requiring special handling.

Thermosetting plastic wastes are generated at all stages of BIP’s production of amino moulding powders. When crushed and graded these materials have perfect hardness characteristics for use as blasting media.

In addition to reducing impact on landfill and obviating the need for solvent stripping, the new process avoids production of carcinogenic substances and generates a by-product with wide application as a compost additive. The blast medium itself can be recycled.

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