Use of virgin/recycled polyethylene blends in rotational moulding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aiming to further plastics recycling via rotational moulding plastics processing, blends of virgin and
recycled polyethylene sourced from post-consumer plastics were developed. Three different kinds of recycled high density polyethylene – from bottles, pipes and mixed household waste – were compounded with virgin medium density polyethylene in an extruder. The ideal amount of recyclate was chosen based upon the impact resistance of different contents (25, 50 and 75%) of recycled plastic with the 50/50 blend found to have the best performance. Compression-moulded and rotationally-moulded samples were analysed through falling dart impact test, flexural test, melt flow rate and differential scanning calorimetry analysis. The impact results of the compression-moulded
samples showed an increase in the impact resistance of the blends with a higher melt flow index and lower degree of crystallinity. The rotationally-moulded specimens displayed much lower impact
resistance than the pure virgin plastic and a 20–30% reduction in the flexural moduli, which were ascribed to the crystalline structure of the part and issues in the blends’ rotomoulding process. It was concluded that blending virgin and recycled polyethylene for rotational moulding can be an effective way to further plastics recycling inside the Circular Economy context.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Polymer Engineering
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 07 May 2021

Keywords

  • circular economy
  • plastic waste
  • polymer recycling
  • rotational moulding.

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