Making plastics containing VOCs recyclable, researchers use steam to remove odors

Media reported that while chemicals, food and other odored substances are often sold in recyclable plastic containers, they are sometimes not suitable for recycling because of the absorption of odors. However, there is now a new way to remove these odors.

Making plastics containing VOCs recyclable, researchers use steam to remove odors

The technology, which was reportedly developed by Professor Andres Fullana of the University of Alicante in Spain and researcher Andrea Cabanes, could help remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from plastic containers These volatile organic compounds are absorbed by the polymer substrate sofority of plastic containers. The researchers say this deodorization process is not currently possible through traditional cleaning and recycling methods.

Fullana first sorts, separates and pre-treats used plastic containers, then crushes them into small particles, then chemically cleans them with a special soap to dry after washing. Finally, the odor removal is completed through the “steam distillation” procedure.

Making plastics containing VOCs recyclable, researchers use steam to remove odors

Steam distillation refers to the transfer of steam through a material in a tower. When steam rises, it takes the VOCs away from the material. Subsequently, when steam condenses in the collection bottle, the VOCs liquid water contained in the inside can be separated and treated. In other words, this process can also be used to obtain useful products, such as essential oils distilled from plant leaves.

Recently, Fullana patented the technology, and five companies have expressed interest in commercializing it.

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