Technological Centre

At CETIM we develop recycling technologies so that we can live ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’

For World Environment Day, from CETIM we remind you that in our Technological Centre we are experts in four major technologies for the recycling and revaluation of all types of polymers, because it is possible to find sustainable solutions that contribute to the Circular Economy.

On this day, 50 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly established World Environment Day to promote changes in consumption habits and environmental policies, both nationally and internationally. This year, we dedicate the day to remember the importance of good waste management in order to live in a ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ planet.

Plastic production is growing exponentially year by year and European and national policies are becoming more and more restrictive for this type of waste. However, the recovery rate currently stands at 32%, far from the 60% target set by the European Union for 2030.

World Environment Day, 5th June 2023.

Nevertheless, plastics are materials of great value and usefulness for industry, economy and society in general, but we must manage these products properly at the end of their useful life to avoid their harmful effect on the environment. At CETIM we are working to provide a solution to this problem, since the beginnings of our Technological Centre we have been developing recycling technologies that promote the circular economy and environmental remediation.

The art of recycling

In order to carry out recycling processes, it is important to differentiate between thermoplastic polymers, such as polyethylene or polystyrene; and thermosetting polymers, such as resins, adhesives, foams, etc. The recycling processes of each type differ greatly, and at CETIM we are experts in four major technologies for the recycling and revaluation of all types of polymers: physical, chemical, thermochemical and biological technologies.

For the recycling of thermoplastic polymers, we have a pilot plant for washing and crushing plastic by-products. With our laboratory and pre-industrial extruders, we obtain and formulate recycled pellets. We also work with different moulding technologies, such as film extrusion or 3D printing.

In addition, we are experts in conditioning processes of polymers of all types for use as circular additives in concrete, asphalt and other industrial applications. Similarly, at CETIM we have been working for more than a decade in chemical recycling, researching depolymerisation routes with which to obtain polyols that we subsequently polymerise again in applications of high industrial value.

In turn, at CETIM we research thermochemical recycling processes. Through the technique known as pyrolysis, we achieve the controlled thermal degradation of plastic waste and obtain three co-products, solid (char), liquid (bio-oil) and gas, that we valorise with leading industries. Finally, we develop biological recycling processes, degrading all types of plastics thanks to the action of enzymes, bacteria and others.

Adapted solutions

All these solutions and many others, such as the formulation and synthesis of bioplastics from plant sources or sustainability analysis, for a world ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ were discussed today at the conference organised by VIRATEC on the occasion of World Environment Day. All the partners of the cluster have gathered in the Natural Park of Corrubedo to, among all, look for alternatives to improve the current complex situation, where the presence of plastics around the world, even in water, is increasing.

Specifically, from CETIM we presented the ECLIPSE project, where we are investigating new routes for the recycling of complex polymers from automobiles. This is a large collaborative project of the entire value chain at national level in which we use all the recycling technologies that we have explained above (chemical, thermal and biological) with the aim of improving and optimising industrial recycling rates.

Adrián Rodríguez, Business Development Manager of CETIM, at the ECLIPSE project presentation.

“At the Galician level, we work with leading companies in the forestry sector to add value to their waste and by-products, as well as to improve their processes”.

The efficient use of resources, the valorisation of by-products and waste from industry and digitalisation are essential elements to generate high added value products and optimise processes, thus achieving progress towards a pollution-free society. From CETIM we want to launch a message for World Environment Day to raise awareness that it is possible to find sustainable solutions that contribute to the Circular Economy. Learn more about how CETIM has been doing it since its origins in the interview made by La Voz de Galicia to our Executive Director, Lucía Camino Vázquez:

What are you waiting for to start thinking about the environment? Contact us and we will help you to take care of what is yours, protecting the environment in which you live.