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Recycling of polymers from plastic packaging materials using the dissolution–reprecipitation technique


In this work, results are presented on the application of the dissolution/reprecipitation technique in the recycling of polymers from waste plastic packaging materials used in food, pharmaceuticals and detergents. Initially, the type of polymer in each packaging was identified using FT-IR. Furthermore, experimental conditions of the recycling process (including type of solvent/non-solvent, initial polymer concentration and dissolution temperature) were optimized using model polymers. The dissolution/reprecipitation technique was applied in the recycling of a number of plastic materials based on polyethylene (LDPE and HDPE), polypropylene, polystyrene, poly(ethylene terephthalate) and poly(vinyl chloride). The recovery of the polymer was measured and possible structural changes during the recycling procedure were assessed by FT-IR spectroscopy. Potential recycling-based degradation of the polymer was further investigated by measuring the thermal properties (melting point, crystallinity and glass transition temperature), of the polymer before and after recycling, using DSC, their molecular properties (average molecular weight) using viscosimetry, as well as their mechanical tensile properties. High recoveries were recorded in most samples with the properties of the recycled grades not substantially different from the original materials. However, a slight degradation was observed in a few samples. It seems that this method could be beneficial in waste packaging recycling program.

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This work was co-funded by the European Union, European Social Fund and National Resources, (EPEAEK-II) and the Greek Ministry of Education in the framework of the research program PYTHAGORAS II, Metro 2.6. (Code 80922).

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Correspondence to D. S. Achilias.

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Achilias, D.S., Giannoulis, A. & Papageorgiou, G.Z. Recycling of polymers from plastic packaging materials using the dissolution–reprecipitation technique. Polym. Bull. 63, 449–465 (2009).

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  • Polymer recycling
  • Plastic packaging
  • Dissolution/reprecipitation technique