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Company news

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02 Nov 2022

AIMPLAS certified to test reusable tableware to promote the circular economy of alternatives to single-use products

An audit conducted by ENAC at the AIMPLAS laboratories has enabled AIMPLAS to expand its scope of accreditation for standard UNE 53928:2020 on Plastics. Reusable plastic tableware for food use. This standard regulates product labelling that indicates the minimum number of dishwashing cycles the product can withstand, thus highlighting the reusability of tested tableware.

The goal of this standard is to respond to Directive (EU) 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment. The Directive supports reducing the generation of waste and its environmental impact, as well as the shift from disposable tableware to reusable items, as a means of fostering a true circular economy in the plastics sector.

Through the performance of accredited tests, reusable plastic tableware manufacturers can identify their products as reusable and indicate the number of wash cycles these products can withstand. The standard stipulates that the manufacturer is responsible for determining the number of cycles a product can successfully withstand, but must bear in mind that an item must be able to withstand at least five wash recycles to be considered reusable.

According to the standard, it is important for the test not to fail in terms of any inspection criteria. In fact, after the washing resistance tests, the standard recommends repeating the migration tests to check if the limits are met as set out in Regulation 10/2011 on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.

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02 Nov 2022

AIMPLAS presented almost 200 R&D projects and provided nearly a thousand circular economy services in 2021

Society must increasingly face greater and more complex challenges. The COVID-19 health crisis demonstrated the importance of research, as well as the need for green, eco-friendly recovery. The current production scenario once again highlights the fact that natural resources are limited and that the linear production model is economically and environmentally unsustainable. For AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, the circular economy is one of the keys for responding to these challenges and therefore accounts for a considerable share of the centre’s activity. 

The technology centre’s R&D areas include ecodesign; the use of bio-based, recycled, recyclable, biodegradable and compostable materials; the development of new business models based on repair and reuse; and the improvement of waste collection, management and separation systems, as well as mechanical and chemical recycling processes to obtain quality materials for use in high value-added applications.

A total of 178 circular economy R&D projects were presented in 2021, one of which was GO-OLIVA. It was carried out with Olivarera de Los Pedroches and involved developing a new biodegradable and compostable plastic material from olive stones to manufacture olive oil products that can be processed in a composting plant or added to compost of olive tree debris. Another project presented in 2021 was MICROPLAST, which aims to remove microplastics from municipal and industrial wastewater with the participation of Aguas de Valencia and the Universitat de València. As a result of this project, a standardized methodology was developed to obtain homogeneous data on the presence of these particles in different wastewater sources.

 The PUCO2 Project, developed with AIDIMME and INESCOP, involves doing research on how to turn industrial CO2 emissions into high value-added chemical products. Systems for converting CO2 into polyurethane have been developed for its use in paints, varnishes and adhesives in the footwear and furniture sectors. The ECOGLUE II Project, in collaboration with INESCOP, has developed a new generation of environmentally friendly bioadhesives with applications in the footwear, transport and construction sectors. These bioadhesives possess the same properties and functionality as conventional adhesives, but have additional advantages: they come from renewable sources and can be dismantled, which makes recycling easier.

AIMPLAS also coordinated the European LIFE ECOMETHYLAL Project, which ended with the construction of a plant capable of extracting up to half a kilogram of methylal (a substance that can be used as a solvent or raw material to produce new plastics) from each kilogram of non-recyclable waste from the automotive, electrical-electronic and packaging industries. AIMPLAS also led the European RECOTRANS Project to manufacture lighter vehicles without increasing costs. New thermoplastic composites were developed using microwaves and laser welding, resulting in a reduction in costs and energy consumption, as well as confirmation of the feasibility of recycling and processing the resulting material.

The OCEANETS Project, yet another project in which AIMPLAS takes part, has developed chemical and mechanical recycling processes to use end-of-life fishing nets to produce sportswear with trackers to verify their source. When exposed to infrared rays, these trackers reveal their presence in the fabric through the use of an additive.

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