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04 Dec 2021

Limerick-based college unveils plan to tackle plastic pollution

Limerick-based college unveils plan to tackle plastic pollution

Plastic pollution is a big issue

THE Technological University of the Shannon (Tus), which has two bases in Limerick, has launched a €2.9m project aimed at tackling plastic pollution.

Codenamed the PerPETual, the scheme aims to reduce landfill and the incineration of waste plastic by creating a special technology which will allow plastics to be continually recycled.

It's being led by researchers at Tus, whose Limerick bases are in Moylish and Clare Street.

They have teamed up with University College Cork, AvonCourt packaging and Novelplast Teoranta, with the two private sector partners providing €1m towards the blueprint.

Made from fossil fuels, polyethylene terephthalate, or 'pet' is a clear strong plastic found in drinking bottles and fresh food tubs and trays. At present, huge quantities of this ends up in landfill.

Tus’s lead researcher of the PerPETual project, Dr Margaret Brennan Fournet said: "The PerPETual project will be highly disruptive for a number of the sectors including food, energy, climate action and sustainability, manufacturing, materials, business services and processes and will significantly alter the way we work, live and innovate for a low carbon, resource neutral, sustainable plastics future."

Imelda Lambkin, the disruptive technologies department manager at Enterprise Ireland added: "The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is a vital tool for enabling Irish enterprise and research sectors to find solutions and positive contributions to the low carbon and sustainability targets in Ireland’s Climate Action Plan."

Pictured below at the Tus campus in Athlone with Novelplast chief executive Neil Skeffington are college researchers and staff Dr Margaret Fournet, Dr Declan Devine, Dr Olivia Adly, Diana Garza Herrara, Dr Cuneyt Erdinc Tas, Edouardo Lanzagorta Garcia, Dr James Murray, Fergus Quinn, Dr Yuanyuan Chen, Tus Dr Chaitra Venkatesh, Dr Ian Major, Muhammad Azeem

"The PerPETual project, led by the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest and partners, UCC, AvonCourt Packaging Ltd and Novelplast Teoranta will future proof Ireland to ensure that we become leaders in the development of disruptive technologies, and has the potential to transform the plastics industry, by drastically reducing the amount of fresh petroleum extracted virgin material used, and positioning Pet recyclate as a valuable, perpetually reusable resource."

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