New Products from Waste PVC Flooring and Safe End-of-Life Treatment of Plasticisers
Circular Flooring aims to establish a circular recycling process for plasticized PVC from post-consumer waste flooring. For PVC products, only recycling rates of 20% have been achieved so far, while a large percentage of the PVC waste is still landfilled or incinerated. In order to avoid the loss of valuable resources, increased CO₂ emissions and other environmental burdens of waste disposal, it is necessary to establish closed recycling loops for various material streams, as for example PVC floor coverings. Therefore, the Circular Flooring consortium is further developing the CreaSolv® Recycling Process to separate the PVC-resin from post-consumer floor coverings from legacy plasticisers (phthalic acid esters) that are not conform to the EU REACH-Directive.
In the course of the project, waste floor coverings will be collected and shredded into smaller particles before they are treated in the CreaSolv® Recycling Process that separates PVC from plasticisers. The extracted legacy phthalic acid esters will subsequently be deactivated by catalytic hydrogenation, which allows for recycling into REACH-compliant alternatives. The recovered PVC will then be further upgraded with tailored additives before it can be reused in new floor coverings and re-enter the market (cf. Figure 1). As a result, Circular Flooring contributes to a circular European economy and a sustainable, holistic resource recovery at technological scale.
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Figure 1: Circular Flooring outline enabling circular use of plasticised PVC from waste flooring by CreaSolv® Recycling Process and catalysed hydrogeneration
©Circular Flooring. Design: Jürgen Lindl | IDEEN DIE FRUCHTEN
The main objectives of Circular Flooring are:
- Assessment of PVC market data and the status of availability, collection and treatment status of PVC flooring waste in Europe
- Further development the CreaSolv® Recycling Process for recovering phthalate-free PVC from flooring waste
- Separation and chemical modification of plasticizers from floor covering wastes
- Upscaling of recycling processes from laboratory to technical scale (TRL 5-6)
- Demonstration of the circular design of the recovered secondary PVC and its applicability in new floor coverings
- Assessment of the techno-economic feasibility and environmental, health and safety impacts of the novel recycling processes
- Prevention of usable resources (PVC, plasticisers) from being landfilled or incinerated and thus reduce CO2 emissions and possible contamination of soil and underground water
- Create awareness and knowledge about the project results and circular economy in the European community
From June 2019 to May 2023, Circular Flooring receives a contribution of EUR 5.4 million from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme under Grant Agreement Number 821366. Horizon 2020 is the European Union’s Research and Innovation funding programme for 2014 – 2020.