Recovery and recycling of materials such as metal is now a growing sector with great potential for economic and environmental gains.
Recycling of metals
Much of the metal scrap that is fragmented in Sweden and exported is upgraded via manual sorting, and then returned to the production cycle for new materials.
For several years Swerea KIMAB has been developing laser technology for scanning/analysis and identification of various materials. LIBS (laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy) is used to advantage for rapid analysis of most materials in solid and powder form.
Together with waste-management companies, the steel and process industries and various research bodies, both national and international, Swerea works to develop new and existing methods for simplifying and improving the efficiency of recovery and recycling of different materials. This is because it is often cheaper and more environmentally friendly to reuse recovered material than to produce new material.
Recycling of plastics
Material recovery and recycling is highly topical, due to an ever growing awareness of climate change, the necessity to save on natural resources and reduce dependency on fossil raw materials such as oil. Over the years Swerea has built up solid expertise in the recovery of plastic materials, principally in the cable sector. We have the knowledge and R&D resources for materials separation, characterization and quality assurance, processing and upgrading of recovered material.
For several years Swerea IVF has conducted research programmes concerning recovery and recycling of cable in collaboration with member companies and the cable industry. The aim is to recover the maximum amount of plastic materials from cable waste, thereby avoiding the need to landfill it in future. An important objective of our work is to develop methods for quality-assured recycling of the different plastics that are used in cables and cabling.
Our services within recovery and recycling of polymeric materials:
- characterization of recovered material with respect to mechanical, thermal and chemical properties, ageing and lifecycle characteristics;
- processability of the recovered material i.e., material properties in processes such as extrusion and injection moulding;
- upgrading of the recovered material to improve material properties and processability. This typically involves materials development, compounding and assessment.