Scottish university gives plastic PPE waste a second life!

The waste will be converted into a secondary raw material that will be used for new commercial products

Big Zero Report 2022

The disposal of PPE plastic waste remains one of the biggest challenges even today, almost two years after the start of the pandemic.

Heriot-Watt University in Scotland has partnered with Britain’s biggest PPE manufacturer Globus Group to give a second life to plastic PPE waste.

The collaboration will help to recycle over 100 tonnes of PPE every year, the equivalent of ten kilograms of waste every hour.

Globus Group has installed technology at a factory in Golborne in North West England that will heat and compact the plastic polypropylene found in PPE products into large, reusable blocks.

These will be then collected and processed, providing raw materials which Globus Group can use to make new commercial products, including PPE and fuels.

Dr Aimaro Sanna, an assistant professor in chemical and process engineering at Heriot-Watt University, said: “Many countries have been unable to process their plastic waste PPE properly. Our ground-breaking research aims to address these challenges providing an exemplar technique for application globally.”

A recent report found that since the start of the pandemic, more than eight million tonnes of plastic waste have been generated from 193 countries.

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