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The Technology of Plastic Recycling
Less than 10% of the plastics discarded in the US are recovered for recycling, with the remainder (over 30 million tons per year) ending up in landfills. A large portion of the plastics that are recovered in the US are exported for recycling, though this market has been disrupted by the ban on the import of certain waste materials into China. At the same time that most waste plastics end up in landfills or are exported, consumer products companies in the US often struggle to find a large enough supply of recycled plastics to meet their corporate sustainability targets. Technologies are available to recycle these waste plastics, and smarter use of these technologies (in combination with increased customer demand and disruptions in export markets) could enable plastic recycling at much higher rates. In this presentation, we review some of the waste plastic streams and then take a closer look at the technologies available for recycling these plastics. In particular, we review a number of the existing and emerging technologies available for cleaning, separating, purifying and compounding these waste plastics into high quality pellets suitable for use in new products. We also address the limitations of mechanical recycling and areas where chemical recycling might be of particular interest.

Dec 12, 2018 2:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Brian Riise
Project Manager @The REMADE Institute
Brian Riise has over 25 years of experience in R&D related to polymers and recycling. Brian is currently a Project Manager at The REMADE Institute and Technical Director for the Sustainable Materials Recovery Group (SuMaRec). From 1998-2017, Brian directed R&D (processes and products) for MBA Polymers, a leader in the recycling of plastics from complex streams such as shredded end-of-life electronics and automobiles. Brian’s work resulted in 12 US patents, and he managed a patent portfolio of over 40 patents in the US and internationally. Brian was also closely involved in the design, construction, operations, product development and technical sales for MBA Polymers’ facilities in the US, China, Austria and England. Brian has a BS in chemical engineering from UC Davis and a PhD in chemical engineering from UC Santa Barbara. For his PhD, he studied the rheology of polymer blends and block copolymers.