LIFE project makes first industrial conveyor belt from recycled plastic

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LIFE Replace Belt (Foto: Replacebelt)

Brussels — The Life Replace Belt project, which built on the work of the RePlaCe project, has succeeded in turning its prototype industrial conveyor belt, whose structural components are made from recycled plastic instead of metal, into a commercial product. The new modular conveyor belt uses recycled plastic components to replace structural components formerly made of aluminium and iron. It also replaces components previously made from PVC, synthetic rubber or virgin plastic with recycled plastic.

The project team are targeting a 15 percent market share for their light recycled plastic conveyor belt. Their European customers are already said to be benefitting from the innovative conveyance system, which provides economic savings and much-reduced environmental impacts. In particular, energy consumption is significantly reduced during product manufacture. The new conveyor belt can potentially be used in any manufacturing industry, as its components meet the necessary legal requirements.

In addition to providing a substantial new market for solid plastic waste, so reducing waste disposal through landfilling or incineration, the new-generation conveyor belt also represents a reduction in the amount of raw materials used. Therefore, the project outcome contributes to EU policy objectives concerning resource use efficiency and the circular economy.

This positive outcome of the project arises from a collaboration during both LIFE projects between four Italian plastics companies: Plastic Metal produced recycled plastic components in its thermoplastic injection moulding machines; F.lli Virginio designed and assembled the conveyor belt, Vivi conducted the laboratory analysis of materials, and Etra manages a plastic waste separation centre.

The project’s website can be found under replacebelt.eu.

Source: Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission