New recycling tech for recovery of plastic waste mechanical strength

Circular economy

Japan Green Science Alliance has received a license agreement from Fukuoka University to implement a revolutionary plastic waste recycling technology that can recover mechanical strength, particularly toughness, of plastic waste in a relatively simple and effective manner.

Plastic pollution, such as microplastic and nanoplastic pollution, is a serious problem in today’s world. It is imperative that something be done about this problem. One of the technologies for reducing plastic pollution is plastic recycling. Thermal recycling, material recycling, and chemical recycling are the three types of waste plastic recycling technology. Thermal recycling is the process of virtually burning plastic waste as fuel, which is not considered an ideal solution. Chemical recycling appears to be a good idea; however, it is not a perfect circular system, and the main issue is its high cost.

Professor Shigeru Yao of Fukuoka University in Japan has been studying plastic waste from a polymer physics perspective (currently PE and PP scraps, but he may research other plastics in the future). He clarified that the deterioration of mechanical strength in plastic waste is caused by inner crystal structural changes within the plastic, not by chemical breakdown of the polymer main chain.

Furthermore, he has demonstrated that by optimizing the re-pelletizing process, mechanical strength, particularly toughness, can be recovered. Furthermore, for the first time in the world, he has theoretically and experimentally demonstrated that the mechanical strength of plastic waste can be regenerated to be as strong as new plastic pellets under certain processing conditions. He’s also created a new type of extruder that can duplicate this ground-breaking plastic recycling technology at a low cost and with high efficiency.

Until now, it was common knowledge that the mechanical properties of plastic products deteriorated over time, and that plastic pellets made from waste were mechanically weak as well. As a result of their poor properties, the use of plastic pellets made from plastic waste was restricted. Plastic pellets reprocessed with this new innovative technology, on the other hand, are expected to create new plastic molding products with high mechanical strength from plastic waste. This could be a fantastic technology for reducing the amount of plastic waste in the world.

It should be noted that this ground-breaking technology falls under the category of material recycling. Mechanical strength recovery varies depending on the type of plastic waste and the conditions of the re-pelletizing process. The detailed development and analysis, on the other hand, is still ongoing. As a result, this could be a game-changing technology that drastically reduces the amount of plastic scraps (waste) in the world.

Green Science Alliance has now obtained a license agreement with Fukuoka University and has also installed a new extruder in the company that can carry out this revolutionary technology. They will collaborate with Fukuoka University and other companies to conduct custom testing, measuring, and analyzing properties of pellets made from various types of plastic waste in order to further research and develop this new technology. Green Science Alliance’s long-term goal is to supply a large quantity of plastic pellets made from plastic waste as a business.

Other Green Science Alliance technologies (biomass biodegradable resin, next generation rechargeable battery, fuel cell, solar cell, quantum dot, metal organic framework, and so on) have been registered by the United Nations Organization (UNIDO’s platform “STePP”, WIPO GREEN) and have been selected as finalists in the UNOPS GIC KOBE Japan startup incubation program in 2020.