Testing & Investigation Case Study

Recycling of PET to Internationally recognised standards and Methods of Adding Value to the Post Consumer Resin

Company Name: The Shabra Group

Funding Source & Value: This research was co-funded by Shabra and TUS via an TUS President Seed Fund project (company contribution €25,000).

Profile of Company:
Shabra is a global market leader in integrated plastics recycling, reprocessing, manufacturing and supply of recycled products. Shabra is totally committed to the promotion of recycling and reprocessing in Ireland, reducing waste plastics going to landfill and helping companies to reduce their carbon footprint.

Problem to Be Solved

Many issues currently exist with the supply of recycled polymer that deems it unsuitable for use in some commercial product ranges. If the properties of these polymers can be enhanced to bring them into line with those of a virgin material then the recycled material may part or wholly replace the virgin polymer and thus enable the recyclate to be used in a higher value product. The quality of the post-consumer PET is of critical importance as this will determine the end user markets in which it can be used. The main focus of this research involved developing a standard testing protocol for PET recyclate for the Shabra group and investigating methods of adding value to the material so that it could be used in higher value products.

How APT Delivered Solution for Industry:

This research included a review of PET specification sheets currently employed within the recycling industry and established test techniques most suitable for addressing Shabra’s current needs. All the testing and analyses were carried out in accordance with recognised international standards. The research established the techniques most suitable to Shabra in terms of reproducibility, equipment cost and ease of use. Following this phase of work, the quality of the PET recyclate was determined. To date, this has yielded valuable information relating to the efficiency of each step in the washing process and resulted in cost savings and improved quality recyclate. Efforts are ongoing to further improve the quality of the recyclate so that the material may be sold tohigher-valuee end markets and reduce material reaching landfill.

Impact for the Company

This research will enable the Shabra group to put measures in place so that it can improve the overall quality of its recyclate so as to comply with the new EuCertPlast. The aim of EuCertPlast is to accredit Plastic Recyclers whose activity complies with high-quality standards. This certification will give an assurance to suppliers and customers that any input waste plastic is processed by a certified recycler via best practices. Simultaneously, it ensures that the recycler respects the environment and acts in accordance with European Standard (EN 15343:2007) and national legislation. EuCertPlast advocatesenvironmentallyl friendly recycling of plastic and concentrates on traceability and evaluation of conformity and recycled content of recyclates.

Company Testimonial

“We enjoyed very much working with Crevan and the APT team. APT are highly responsive and fast in contextualising our requirements with focus and dynamism. We now view APT as a natural extension to Shabra Group capability… APT is our Athlone based Lab…”

The Shabra Group