Nowadays linear economy needs to transform to recycling economy in terms of ecology and economy due to environmental pollution, climate change and an increase of population. In the 1980s and 1990s, intensive efforts have already been taken to innovate processes for the raw material recycling of plastic waste, which had not been used in large-scale commercial applications because of unsolved procedural problems, for example the inaccessibility of mass flow. However, the increasing of plastic waste, especially the entry in oceans and seas, has become a serious problem. Furthermore, a greater awareness of the environmental protection and the need of sustainable solutions made the raw material recycling gain popularity again.
Polystyrene offers many advantages, e.g. it possesses high mechanical strength even with low wall thickness. Therefore the packaging is much lighter comparing to those of glass or metal. However, there is no non-detrimental way or comprehensive recycling process for polystyrene yet. The target of ResolVe is the economical utilization of polystyrene waste through a raw material recycling to create new high-quality products made of plastic. Compared to the conventional thermal or mechanical recycling of plastic waste, the project aims to create an effective economic and ecological circulation.
The I.A.R. takes part in the project by providing the acquisition and investigation of possible waste materials as well as doing the technological pre-treatment, so that they can be used in different steps of the recycling process.
ResolVe will be supported as a F&E joint research project in the context of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Industrial applicants are the INEOS Styrolution Group GmbH, Frankfurt /Main (project coordinator) as well as the INEOS Köln GmbH. The scientific support is provided by the RWTH Aachen (I.A.R. and IKV, the institute of plastics processing) as well as the Neue Materialien Bayreuth GmbH.