DECOAT project: Smart additives for plastics and textiles with coatings that are difficult to recycle

AIMPLAS is participating in the DECOAT project. The project consortium, led by Belgian R&D centre CENTEXBEL, consists of 17 partners from across Europe from across the value chain including design, manufacturing, NGOs, and research and innovation.

The focus of the consortium is on coated and painted textiles and plastic materials which are not currently recyclable. Ambitious plastic recycling targets of 50% have been set by the European Plastics Industry, and to meet these targets, smart solutions to enable the circular use of textile and plastic parts with multi-layer coatings must be considered. Many materials consist of more than one chemical component, hindering their recyclability, such as coated and laminated products. Ideally, all the components of an object after its end-of-life should be separated and fed to the most suited recycling streams.

DECOAT has therefore been established to investigate triggerable smart polymer material systems and appropriate recycling processes. The solutions will be based on smart additives (like microcapsules or microwave triggered additives) for the ‘coating’ formulations that will be activated by a specific trigger (heat, humidity, microwave, chemical).

The bold aim of the four-year project is to decrease landfilling of ca. 75% of the coated parts considered in the DECOAT use cases, which cover clothing, electronic goods and automotive. A reduction in the carbon footprint by at least 30% for the considered products is aimed for. By enabling the recycling of such materials, DECOAT is expected to generate on medium term a novel market of over 150 million in Europe.

AIMPLAS’ role in DECOAT project is the selection of the components of the pilot recycling line, as well as taking part in set up and evaluation of the pilot line to recycle coated textiles and coated parts for outdoor gear, household electronics, buses and automotive applications. Moreover, AIMPLAS will tackle the quality analysis of the recycled materials and evaluation of their potential use.

AIMPLAS’ fields of work are related to technological research and development on plastic materials and products, their transformation processes and their recyclability and sustainability. AIMPLAS has pilot plants and testing laboratories that enable the full characterisation of both waste and recycled materials, including chemical, optical, morphological, mechanical and physical properties. It also has wide experience in selective separation of complex wastes, decontamination of recycled plastics for the elimination of hazardous substances and/or odour, improvement of recycled properties of plastics through additivation and compounding, recycling of thermoplastics and elastomers, optimization of recycling processes and the properties of recycled plastics.

DECOAT is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 814505. For more information on the project, visit


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