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Odour Accelerator project: Developing and up-scaling odour-extracting technology for recycled polymers made from post-consumer waste

Updated: May 28

Of the UK’s 260,000 tonnes of post-consumer polypropylene waste, under 1% is recycled into high quality products (e.g. automotive applications). One of the main reasons for this is the fact that polymers retain odours from their previous applications (e.g. containers for food, sauces, detergents), which deems them unviable for use in the production of high value products.  

The Odour Accelerator project aims to upscale validated prototypes of processing technology to provide a cost-effective method for identifying odour and deodourising recycled polymers, which can then be implemented during the manufacture of higher value products. The technological concept was developed through a previous project funded by Innovate UK, which we are now working to upscale from our Laboratory prototype to our Compounding facility to allow full scale production of deodourised recycled polymer compounds.   

Project Outcomes  

  • We’re delighted to say that we have installed a state-of-the-art, modified laboratory-scale extrusion line with vast flexibility of machine configuration for development of the process to be upscaled onto the larger production extrusion lines. 

  • The project consortium has also designed and built bespoke processing technology, which has been validated through operational testing and analysis.   

  • Laboratory trials for experimentation on the deodourising prototypes and their effectiveness have been carried out with very promising results, showing clear evidence of a reduction in odour causing VOC’s.  

Further scientific analysis of odours removed, and human sensory testing have been used to confirm the effectiveness of the process. 

Odour perception and removal is one of the key challenges in the arena of utilising recycled plastics, so we are committed to playing our part in finding a viable, long-term solution to allow higher applications to use recycled plastic rather than virgin polymer. 

Our sincere thanks to our funding body, Innovate UK and to our project partners, the University of LincolnMatrix Moulding Systems and IPL Global.

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