Polymers that are more environmentally friendly by design

The SURPASS project will establish the transition to safer, sustainable and recyclable polymeric materials for the construction, transport and packaging sectors

Plastic waste is accumulating on the planet at an alarming rate, causing air, soil and water pollution due to toxic substances and greenhouse gas emissions. The SURPASS project aims to lead the transition towards safer, sustainable and recyclable design (SSRbD) of polymeric materials and targets three specific sectors that account for 70% of European plastic demand: packaging, construction and transport.

SURPASS, an EU-funded project with a total budget of ¤4.98 million, will develop SSRbD alternatives without potentially hazardous additives through industrially relevant case studies. CIDETEC Surface Engineering, through 3R technology (repairable, recyclable and reprocessable), will formulate and create recyclable and sustainable epoxy composites that, above all, will show improved fire resistance and can be used in high-demand sectors such as railways.

In addition, an assessment system will be designed, based on a set of specific parameters, a risk assessment and a health, environmental and economic evaluation, which will guide formulators, material manufacturers and recyclers to design SSRbD polymeric materials from the outset.

In this way, it is hoped to respond to a structural problem by changing the current trend from the design stage and avoid that, as is currently the case, 70% of the plastic waste collected in Europe continues to be disposed of in landfills or incinerators, with the adverse consequences for public health and the environment that this generates.

SURPASS, part of the Horizon Europe 2021 Research and Innovation Programme, began last June and will last 42 months, involving a total of 13 partners under the coordination of the French CEA.