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A proposal for a Circular Economy (CE) for FRP products: the“UnlockCE” project

TOP GLASS Industries is taking part as a partner in a project named “UnlockCE” that has been submitted to the EU funding programme Horizon 2020.
The “UnlockCE” project management is taking care by a consortium of many international partners whose lead partner is the University Politecnico di Milano.
With the intention to develop a territorial circular economy, our goal is to demonstrate specific systemic solutions.

THE PROJECT

In this extensive project, Top Glass will have a role of “demonstrator”: we are going to demonstrate and facilitate a circular economy systemic solution for FRP products in our circular territorial clusters.
Starting from the study of our business case, we are going to analyze our product design and develop a specific demanufacturing, reprocessing and remanufacturing processes.
Consequently a new product with secondary raw materials with an high added value will be obtained as final result.

THE TOP GLASS BUSINESS CASE

Top Glass is going to achieve the intended result in collaboration with other partners. Particularly the process will involve the collecting of end-of-life waste and internal production scraps. These materials will be subsequently demanufactured with a mechanical process. Later a secondary raw material will be reprocessed to produce new products with an high added value.
In order to validate the value chain of the project, Top Glass is studying also the LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) of his products. This means that we will analyze the environmental impact due to the production, use and disposal of a pultruded profile.
Finally, this process will be compared to the impact coming from the treatment of the FRP wastes and the re-use as a secondary raw material in different production cycles. It is going to include also the logistic, the demanufacturing, reprocessing and remanufacturing  processes.

In summary this analysis will allow to make clear the differences in the environmental impact of a “craddle-to-craddle” approach, that considers the waste as an eternal resource, as opposed to the current linear system named “craddle-to-grave”.

The “UnlockCE” project includes many international partners that work with different roles, with a total of about 60 participants: 20 partners comes from Italy (Lombardy region), 10 from Basque country, 10 from Saxonia and others from Scotland , Nordic Europe, Central East Europe.