A Process for Increasing the Amount and Quality of Recycled Plastics Resins

EPA Contract Number: 68D30102
Title: A Process for Increasing the Amount and Quality of Recycled Plastics Resins
Investigators: Sommer, Edward J.
Small Business: National Recovery Technologies Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1993 through March 1, 1994
Project Amount: $49,948
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1993) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , SBIR - Waste , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Each year, Americans dispose of an estimated 29 billion pounds of plastics which consume up to 20% of our nation's annual landfill capacity. Recent environmental and political pressures have led to rapid establishment of plastics recycling facilities. Limited markets for low quality recycled resins require reclaimers to produce the highest quality recycled resins in order to compete with virgin resins. An increasing number of reclaimers are turning to automated sorting technology to help achieve this goal.

Currently, PET from soda bottles is the most recycled plastic. The second most recycled plastic is HDPE comprised mostly of milk jugs and bases from PET bottles. It is presently difficult to expand post-consumer plastics recycling beyond the easily recognized PET soda bottles and HDPE milk jugs, which together constitute only 6% of plastics disposed annually and only 14% of plastic containers and packaging. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a major limiting factor in quality of recycled resins and in expanding plastics recycling to include a broader spectrum of plastics is lack of automated plastics sorting technology. The objective of the Phase I research program is to determine feasibility for development of a high speed automated system for high accuracy sorting of plastics by polymer type.

Supplemental Keywords:

Scientific Discipline, Waste, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Municipal, Technology for Sustainable Environment, New/Innovative technologies, Engineering, Hazardous, hazardous waste disposal, polymeric waste, municipal waste plastics, recycled plastics, hazardous waste recycling, waste recycling, automated separation, plastics sorting, recycled waste products, hazardous waste, sorting system, polymers, recycling, plastic, plastics, plastic resins, pollution prevention

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final