Alternative to plastic developed with help of Slovenian know-how

Ljubljana, 5 January - A project coordinated by a Slovenian development centre has developed a sustainable alternative to solve the problem of disposable plastic by creating a new material made from recycled plastic and fibres from discarded newsprint, which has been named ceplafib.

Several prototypes of sustainable products for the construction and transport industries have been made from this material, such as storage boxes, protective covers for pipes, fastening and protective parts for motorhomes and sound-insulating panels, and decorative panels for building facades.

The Ceplafib project has been coordinated by the Toolmaking Development Centre of Slovenia - TECOS, which noted that around 275 million tonnes of plastic waste was generated worldwide each year.

So far, only 9% has been recycled and about 12% incinerated, and the remaining 79% is being accumulated in landfills or abandoned in the wild, Wednesday's press release from the centre says, adding that plastic and newsprint were valuable raw materials suitable for reuse.

The project partners see a solution to the environmental problem of pollution caused by this type of waste in circular economy.

"The new composite material ceplafib has excellent mechanical properties. The material provides 40% higher tensile strength, almost 200% higher elastic modulus and also provides an overall economic advantage as it is cheaper than standard pure polypropylene/polyethylene polymers and wood and plastic composites currently available on the market," TECOS said.

Also participating in the project are the Slovenian motorhome manufacturer Adria Mobil and the plastic recycling company Omaplast, as well as Spain's Aitiip, Finland's Ecopulp and Poland's ITB.

Ceplafib is part of IFE, the EU's funding instrument for the environment and climate action, which supports small projects aimed at exchanging best practices, testing technologies and promoting the implementation of relevant EU policies and legislation.