Final year of the RepescaPlas Project: a complete management system for marine plastics

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More than just collecting marine litter

AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, has now completed the fourth and final year of the RepescaPlas project. The project has developed a complete management system for plastic waste recovered from the sea and subsequent recycling into products of commercial value.

The project has successfully expanded knowledge of marine litter, its location and different types in order to create a complete passive fishing strategy and management system for this waste.

The new system begins by recovering the waste collected by the boats during the day (passive waste fishing). The waste is then temporarily stored in containers at the port after being weighed and labelled. It is classified by type and samples of the plastic fraction are taken in accordance with the MARNOBA method. In the laboratory, the material is then classified by type of material, a process that has shown that most waste consists of low-density polyethylene, PET containers and polyamide packaging. Finally, the plastic material is shredded, washed and dried at a recycling plant for recovery using mechanical and chemical recycling.

Using the infrared sorting equipment at the E. Niño sorting plant in Arganda del Rey (Madrid), the plastic material can be recovered through mechanical recycling. The material can then be used to manufacture new products at industrial level.

Main results

The project has developed three demo samples using this recycling system (a paper bin, clipboard and flowerpot), as well as fuel that can be used by vessels as a result of chemical recycling using a pyrolysis process on the mixed waste fraction.