The EU-funded Project, in which Devan Chemicals plays a key role, held a kick off meeting on 20-21 February 2019 at the EU Commission in Brussels, Belgium. Part of the Consortium project, led by Belgian R&D centre CENTEXBEL, are 17 European partners from across the value chain ranging from design, manufacturing, NGOs, as well as research and innovation.

The focus of the consortium is on recycling solutions for coated and painted textiles and plastic materials, which currently have a very polluting end of life. A number of ambitious plastic recycling targets, up to 50% have been set by the European Plastics Industry. To meet these targets, it is essential to consider solutions to enable the circular use of textile and plastic parts with multi-layer coatings.

The aim of the four-year project is to decrease by 75% landfill of coated articles which are at present difficult to recycle, such as clothing, electronic goods and automotive components and a reduction in the carbon footprint by at least 30% for the considered products.

DECOAT has therefore been established in order to investigate triggerable smart polymer material systems and relevant appropriate recycling processes. The solutions are to be based on smart additives, such as microcapsules or microwave triggered additives, that activated by a specific trigger (heat, humidity, microwave, chemical) will allow recycling through the material coating.

Devan Chemical will look at the development of microcapsules that will release its active core on application of a certain trigger at the end of life of an item. Among the possible solutions, this active core material could be something able promote the detachment of different coating layers through separation. This technique could open the possibility for recyclability/re-use of the base materials. Different active core ingredients will be evaluated, and Devan Chemicals will specific develop processes for each type of core ingredient and for each type of coating layer/matrix.

By enabling the recycling of coated materials, DECOAT is expected to generate in the medium term a new market valued at over 150 million Euros in Europe.