Development of a Spectroscopic Molecular Bar-Code Reader for the Rapid Identification of Municipal Plastic Waste

EPA Contract Number: 68D40038
Title: Development of a Spectroscopic Molecular Bar-Code Reader for the Rapid Identification of Municipal Plastic Waste
Investigators: Jiang, Yanan
Small Business: SpectrCode Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1994 through March 1, 1995
Project Amount: $54,679
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1994) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , SBIR - Waste , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The need to recycle solid plastic waste is becoming increasingly acute in view of the limited availability of both landfill space in which to dump plastic trash and the petroleum reserves needed to replace discarded material. The National Resource Council has identified the need for a rapid and reliable means of chemically identifying plastics as a critical technology. Without such a means of identifying plastics, it will not be possible to reprocess the vast majority of municipal plastic waste. This proposal introduces a new spectroscopic device that will be able to positively identify the chemical composition of plastic waste containers and scraps at an ultimate rate exceeding one-hundred pieces per second. This innovation in essence can be described as a molecular bar-code reader. The effort proposed will put laboratory-proven principles into practice by building a prototype device for rapid plastic identification using laser spectroscopy coupled with advanced optical signal generation, separation, and detection technologies. The end result of the Phase I study will be a device that demonstrates the feasibility of this plastic identification technology under realistic municipal waste processing conditions. This device is planned for commercialization as an OEM sensor in an integrated municipal solid-waste sorting system.

Supplemental Keywords:

Plastic Recycling, Sensors, Waste Processing, Waste Recovery., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Sustainable Industry/Business, Municipal, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, Engineering, Environmental Engineering, municipal waste plastics, plastics identification, waste recycling, spectroscopic molecular bar code reader, municipal waste, municipal solid waste landfills, recycling, waste processing, plastics, waste recovery

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final