Researchers at University of NSW have developed a new thermal processing technique to recover aluminium out of challenging-to-recycle polymer-laminated aluminium packaging materials.
According to a statement, the new Thermal Disengagement Technology (TDT) can sustainably recover the metal at around 96 to 99 per cent purity out of “PLAP” materials used for things like food and coffee packaging.
“Several recycling techniques including traditional smelting have been practiced by the researchers and professionals. But the major problems associated with the traditional smelting of PLAP materials are excessive material loss and lack of controlling aids during the smelting,” reads a statement from UNSW.
“In many countries, waste polymer laminated metal packaging materials along with other municipal solid waste going to landfills or incineration and some of the materials are recycled in metallic forms from the bottom ash components by industrial separation. The low value packaging materials containing polymers and aluminium found in the MSW draw no interest from recyclers.”
The team from Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) Centre, which is led by Professor Veena Sahajwalla, has published the results in the journals Springer Nature and the Journal of Cleaner Production. (Articles are linked.)
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