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Upgrading recycled thermoplastics using cellulose oxalate for a more sustainable future 

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The absolute majority of plastic used today are fossil-based thermoplastics such as polypropylene and polyethylene. To an extent these plastics are recycled through mechanical recycling but the recycled plastic is mainly used for low-end, low quality products. This is due to decreased mechanical properties and due to that the recycled plastic often obtains a black colour. By reinforcing the recycled plastic with cellulose some of the mechanical properties can be increased to approximately that of the native thermoplastic. This can enable the use of recycled plastic in high-end products, extending the use cycle of the plastic.
This project is performed together with a start-up company called FineCell, that produces a cellulose derivative ‘cellulose oxalate’ which is used in the project. Within the project the goal is to investigate how to process the material to create the best properties and to investigate what type of plastic is best suited for the cellulose oxalate. Besides traditional thermoplastics, bio-based thermoplastics will also be used in this project to create fully bio-based composite materials.

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