Chapter 22

Recycling of Plastic Materials 1

22.1. Introduction

It is difficult to imagine our life today without plastic materials. The wide variety of plastic materials with their very large range of properties (light, heavy, flexible, rigid, thermal insulators, electric insulators, electric conductors, good optical properties) and their relatively simple transformation at a profitable cost, are the main reasons for their increasing use for the production of products and consumer goods.

The technological developments of the last decades, especially from the 1950s– 1960s, have entailed a large evolution of the use and development of new plastics.

In numerous applications, plastics have replaced other traditional materials (metal, ceramics and wood) but their use has also extended owing to their application in new domains of science and technology: in microelectronics, biomedicine, telecommunications, etc.

Once their useful life is finished, plastic products and components must be disposed of. The issue of the final processing of plastic residues, as for a large part of the solid residues generated by our society, has not been completely solved. It seems logical to seek solutions other than their accumulation in rubbish tips, not only because of the impact on the environment but also because the materials in the residues could be reused; it is a waste of non-renewable resources.

22.2. Plastic materials

22.2.1. Introduction to plastic materials

Plastic materials are organic polymers ...

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