Bottled Water Can Contain Hundreds of Thousands of Nanoplastics

by | Feb 7, 2024 | News | 0 comments

We make plastics circular!

There has been a lot of concern and news about microplastics recently due to the recent study by Columbia University.

In order to reduce microplastics in the nature, and even in the bottled waters, we need to manage our plastic waste better. In reality, we should not even call it waste, but rather a resource.

The holistic management of plastics after use requires multiple recycling methods. In principle. All plastic types can be recycled mechanically. However, even in the family of most common plastic types like PE-LD (also known as LDPE or high-pressure polyethylene), or PE-HD, PET, PS, there may be over 1000 different varieties on the market from different producers, different processes, different additives and this makes mechanically redycled products always a compromise in terms of the properties. Mechanical recycling is also typically not capable of sterilizing the product so that it could be used again in food and pharma applications.

Chemical recycling techniques enable both:
a) products are identical to original polymers
b) products are suitable for food and pharma applications.

Chemical recycling includes processes like depolymerization, pyrolysis, thermolysis and gasification. Sometimes chemical recycling is referred to sd feedstock recycling or advanced (chemical) recycling as the products of the first phase can be used as feedstock in conventional polymer production. Chemical recycling is in theory suitable for all plastic types, but the better the feedstock, the higher the quality of the product.

Physical recycling includes eg solvent purification and delamination, where both require further cleansing and regranulation. Physical recycling can be applied for eg multilayers.

Reducing microplastics is essential and requires a unified effort and many methods. Reducing use through reuse is also the most efficient way to reduce microplastics. Recycling reduces the need for new plastic production and reduces emissions especially where plastics are diverted from incineration.

Moving to paper and board foes not reduce microplastics automatically as they are often coated with polymers and have polymer binders. Aluminium cans are bottles, and tinned cans are also coated and printed with polymers, often in and out.

Education is an essential part and the higher the separate collection streams, the easier it is to sort and recycle the plastics.

Let’s make plastics circular together and reduce the amount of microplastics in the environment and the amount of plastics ending up incinerated.


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