Mixed plastics waste proves hardy material for flood defence

Markets for mixed polymer waste may be opening up as a pan-European consortium proposes to manufacture high value products such as flood defences from these materials.

Material scientists from PRIME (Plastic Recyclate Impression Moulding Engineering) have combined their expertise to build a prototype rig that has produced the first test barrier panel from mixed plastics waste, which can be used in flood defences.

Environmental testing on the panels including UV, humidity, moisture and flame testing are being carried out, with further production trials planned for a final prototype flood barrier.

Life cycle analysis (LCA) work to compare panels manufactured using mixed plastic waste and aluminium panels currently used in flood defence barriers is also being carried out.

The project is to be completed in June 2013 and the final results will be communicated later in the year.

The process may also prove suitable to utilise mixed polymer waste in the manufacture of other products for marine and construction applications, as the material exhibits similar properties to timber or aluminium.

Commenting on the trials, PRIME’s dissemination & commercial exploitation manager Steve Morgan, who also works for Recoup, said: “We have seen some very promising results … this clearly demonstrates the increasing potential of using mixed polymer waste to create high end products that can be used in many industries”.

The PRIME consortium is made up of ten partners from the European Community, with five partners in the UK, three in Belgium, one in France and one in Hungary working in partnership with the EC’s Research Executive Agency.

Maxine Perella

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