Rolling Plastics: towards precision sorting of plastics components from end-of-life vehicles

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The Rolling Plastics project is a pioneering system developed in the Basque Country.

Its purpose is to rescue the different plastic materials from end-of-life vehicles (VFU) to turn them into plastic granules of a quality accepted by the market. The project places special emphasis on separating the different plastic parts that make up a vehicle, depending on the type of plastic they are made of. A near infrared spectroscopy system has ben used to systematically analyse the vehicles' plastic parts.

Zicla is leading this project with the participation of the companies Econia and Jubedi and the Gaiker-IK4 technology centre.

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PP and ABS quality plastic pellets have been made from VFU parts. These pellets were produced, but up to 45% of non-recyclable materials were also obtained. PE granulates prepared for pelleting were also manufactured, which were subjected to necessary washing for containing traces of their contents.

Given the complexity of the materials and the great quantity of non-recyclable materials received together with the pieces sent from the car dismantlers, it is necessary to create a Transfer Centre working as an intermediate step for the pieces between scrapyards and recycling companies, to perform sorting by materials and triage, tearing and washing in order to facilitate the recycler's work and obtain a better quality pellet with a lower non-recyclable materials ratio.