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AIMPLAS works to convert marine plastic waste into aquaculture products

Source:Adsale Plastics Network 2023-05-31

AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technological Centre, and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) technically has been working on the ÑCostas Project, which aims to convert plastic material recovered from the marine environment into new recyclable and sustainable materials for use in products for aquaculture.


The products will be processed using conventional transformation technologies and will maintain and even improve the properties and useful life of current products.


Specifically, this research project, which started in 2021 and will last for four years, studies the treatment and recycling of recovered plastic material for use in walkways and access platforms in fish farms to replace the wood currently used; port protection products, structural and floating tubes for platforms and buoys for signaling and anchoring; and reusing plastic waste products such as fishing gear, nets and meshes to create more lightweight reinforcement for concrete platforms and other products.


AIMPLAS coordinates the ÑCostas Project and develops a new method for converting marine plastic waste into aquaculture products.

The project is based on the best method for recovery, selection and processing of marine plastic waste and aquaculture industry waste, considering its lack of uniformity and the different levels of degradation at different times in the sea.


AIMPLAS contributes its experience in recycling, the circular economy and different technologies for transforming plastic. The project is sponsored by a consortium of companies made up by Acteco, Duraplastics, Ecoplas, Barbanza, Plastire, Rotogal and Solteco, all of which are benchmark companies at national level and cover all manufacturing sectors and technologies in recycling plastic products and the design and manufacture of products related to the aquaculture industry. RDC is also a collaborating member.


“The results of this project will put us one step ahead of current legislation,” said Raúl Araque, a researcher in the Agriculture and Aquatic Environment Group at AIMPLAS. "In addition, Spain is one of the European Union countries with the most kilometers of coastline, so development of the ÑCostas Project will make Spain a pioneer in the recovery of marine plastic waste and the collection of fishing gear for reuse in products in demand in the aquaculture sector."


Most of the plastic products found in the seas and coasts of Spain are polyolefins (e.g. HDPE and LDPE), the most common material for making bottles and bags. When combined with smaller amounts of other polymers, polyolefins are used to create all kinds of containers, such as styrene. These materials have a high chemical resistance, which makes them suitable for recycling products for the use in the marine environment.


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