Recycling Plastics and Managing Their Environmental Impact


Shawbury, UK

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Course overview

There is an urgent need to reduce the environmental impact of waste plastics and achieve much higher levels of recycling and this comprehensive course informs on many aspects of plastics recycling, including the regulations affecting it, the existing and novel recovery processes and the many ways in which recycled plastic can be re-used to produce valuable new products.

The course will also cover important issues associated with the impact of plastics on the environment and the measures which will assist the industry to achieve greater levels of sustainability. It will equip delegates with the knowledge to understand this complex subject, to make informed choices and make the most of the opportunities existing within the industry.

Learning outcomes

  • Gain a full understanding of the how the recycling of plastics is undertaken, the technical and commercial challenges that it faces and the wide range of options that are available for the re-use of the material.
  • Fully understand how and why design and material selection play a crucial part in the recyclability and environmental impact of plastic products.
  • Gain an up-to-date understanding of the role of plastics in the modern society and their environmental impacts.
  • Understand the most significant environmental aspects to be managed for products and services.

Course content

History and background of plastics
  • Review of the plastics industry including growth trends and drivers
  • Exploration of the inherent advantages of plastic over traditional materials.
  • Explanation of the different end use markets, types of plastic, uses and manufacturing methods.
Understanding environmental impact
  • Historical and current context - the extent and degree to which plastics have had an impact on the global environment quantified with relevant data and statistics.
  • Predictions of future impact talking into account various scenarios.
  • The role that plastic packaging, recycling infrastructure, product design, export of plastics waste and choice of material play
  • The use of selected Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) data for specific plastic products to illustrate the various forms of environmental impact and the options available for minimising these.
Regulations, directives and guidance documents
  • Global perspective of the growth and development of recycling environmental regulation and documentation from the mid-1980’s onwards.
  • Covers regulations that address general waste as well as the growing number that specifically target plastic materials and products.
  • Discusses initiatives and measures proposed by governments, NGO’s and influential pressure groups to accelerate the move towards a “circular economy” and address specific high impact target areas.
Processes for recycling plastics
  • Review of recycling from the collection and sorting of plastic waste to decontamination technologies.
  • Separation technologies available and the various methods that can be employed for the recycling of plastics into new products.
  • Also covers “SuperClean” systems for recycling plastics back into high value products, such as food contact articles.
Current issues and initiatives
  • Discussion of key topical issues including: “marine plastic”, single-use plastic products, plastic film, black plastics and multi-layer products.
  • Ways in which industry and researchers are addressing these challenging problems
  • Developments to improve the sorting, decontamination and reprocessing of mixed plastic waste
  • Review of the work being carried out by government, agencies and industry to improve the quality of the complete recycling infrastructure, expand the market for recycled plastics and enhance their acceptance within the market place.
Re-use opportunities
  • How end-of-life plastics can be re-used including:
    • Manufacture of new products having the same properties as the original (e.g. bottle-to-bottle)
    • Incorporation of waste plastics into other products (e.g. construction products and rubber products)
    • Manufacture of new products (e.g. thermoplastic elastomers)
    • Other forms of recycling such as energy recovery by incineration and the manufacture of fuel products.
Bioplastics and Biopolymers
  • Introduction to this expanding and important group of materials that are a sustainable alternative to conventional plastics and are rapidly gaining market share due to their ability to be used to manufacture compostable and biodegradable single use products and food contact materials.
Summary and Conclusions
  • Draws together the various themes of this complex area and shows how present and future measures by government and the plastics industry will influence the development of the recycling industry, enable plastics to become more sustainable and contribute to the “circular economy”.

Who will benefit?

  • Organisations who wish to gain background knowledge and understand options in managing the impact of plastics.
  • Anyone who wants to learn more about the environmental impact of the use of plastics materials and how to deal with them.
  • Those involved in the plastics supply chain who have responsibility for environmental impact or anyone requiring up-to-date information on how the industry and current regulations work.
  • Design engineers, buyers, environmental waste managers, facilities managers, management system representatives.

Presenter information

You can read more about our presenters by clicking on their expert profiles

What our delegates say

"As with all Smithers courses I have attended, this was excellent, well timed, good delivery and excellent slides"
Paula Douglas (QUB)

"Very in-depth, Martin is extremely knowledgeable"
Gillian Shields (Coca Cola HBC)

"A very good course as it provides the technical knowledge as well as the legislative points important in recycling"
Pooja Mandal (Condron Concrete Works)

Questions and queries

Contact Kerry Haralambou

Recycling Plastics and Managing Their Environmental Impact

Date
Length 1 day
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Smithers Recycling Plastics & Managing their Environmental Impact Brochure 2019
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