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High-performance recycled plastic lumber (RPL)

News International-French

21 Feb 2013

JEC Europe 2013 - The PROWASTE Project intends to promote an innovative industrial process for the manufacture of high-performance recycled plastic lumber for urban/outdoor furniture. The raw material is mixed plastics waste normally destined for landfill or energy recovery.

The innovation consists in introducing reinforcing pultruded rods in the plastic matrix during the extrusion process, without any substantial modification of the existing production plant used for plastic lumber moulding. Compared with unreinforced plastic lumber, flexural properties are increased by a factor of 3 while creep compliance is more than one order of magnitude lower than for unreinforced beams. At the moment, the modified production system is operated at the plant of Solteco Madera Plastica, one of the project partners.

The PROWASTE solution is ready to enter into the market. Innovative reinforced plastic lumber can be used in new applications where mechanical properties are a fundamental issue, such as pallets or railroad ties. The increased flexural stiffness also makes it possible to reduce the thickness of the lumber, which means lower costs and improved aesthetic characteristics.

The main economic benefit for customers is linked to the lower maintenance and replacement costs with respect to traditional materials. Compared to wood, the cost saving of an RPL landscaping application, like a bench, ranges from 18% to 32%.

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