LIFE REPLACE BELT - Prototyping of Recycled Plastic Conveyor Belt Machine and Demonstration of Recycled Plastic Tight tolerance Applications

LIFE13 ENV/IT/000477

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Contact details:

Contact person: Brotto Manuela
Tel: 390498666097
Fax: 390498638510
Email: replace@plasticmetal.it

Project description:


PVC is a form of plastic used in many applications instead of rubber. PVC accounts for 14% of all plastic produced in Europe, with 8 million tonnes per year. The European production of synthetic rubber, excluding tyres, in 2010 was around 2.8 million tonnes. The reuse or recycling of rubber and industrial plastic waste represents a big challenge both at the local and European level.

Around 3 500 tonnes of light-duty conveyor belts are produced in Europe each year. These are usually made of PVC, synthetic rubber or virgin plastic. Rubber belting represents 25% and PVC represents 60% of the total amount of required each year – around 850 tonnes of synthetic rubber and 2 100 tonnes of PVC.

However, the irreversible cross-linking between polymer chains means that the rubber from conveyor belts cannot be formed again into belting – although other recycling possibilities do exist. Thermoplastics such as PVC can, in principle, be melted and reprocessed more than once. However, compared with materials such as glass and metal, plastic polymers require greater processing to be re-used.


The LIFE REPLACE BELT project aims to develop a new conveyor belt made entirely of recycled plastics. It thus aims to deliver an innovative product which completely substitutes materials with a large environmental footprint with 100% recycled material.

The project will develop a modular conveyor belt made out of recycled plastics. It will test the product for tensile strength and demonstrate its successful application in moving parts. It targets a market share of 15% for the new product.

The project also aims to deliver a more energy efficient process than standard conveyor belt production. The project will specifically focus on reducing energy consumption during injection moulding.

Finally, the project will investigate further applications of recycled plastics, such as the use of snap-fit and hooking design to introduce recycled plastic into the production process of waste containers. It will also produce a waste management plan and implement a new hard plastic urban waste collection. This will both increase sources for recycled plastics and further reduce the volume of bulky plastics going to landfill.

Expected results:

  • Development of a modular recycled plastic belt with a target tensile strength of 14.5 N/mm;
  • Achievement 15% market share with the recycled plastics light conveyor belt;
  • Demonstration of new successful applications for recycled plastics;
  • Reduced consumption of virgin thermosets and thermoplastic: about 1.6 t/yr, of which 70% PVC, 20% synthetic rubber and 10% thermoplastics (PP);
  • Reduced energy consumption during injection moulding by up to 40% during the project’s lifetime;
  • Reduced energy footprint of the production process by 37% over pre-project years, amounting to a saving of about 23.2 MWh/yr;
  • Reduced production and processing CO2 footprint by 44% over pre-project years, amounting to about 3.8 t/yr;
  • Reduced crude oil consumption for the production of plastics by 71%, amounting to 12 barrels of crude oil saved;
  • Reduced water consumption by 71%, amounting to 2 500 cubic meters of water saved;
  • Increased amount of bulky, rigid plastics diverted from landfill to 75%;
  • A new hard plastic urban waste collection system; and
  • Contribution to overall EU objectives around a resource-efficient economy.



Environmental issues addressed:


Energy - Efficiency
Energy - Savings
Industry-Production - Plastic - Rubber -Tyre
Waste - Waste recycling
Waste - Waste reduction - Raw material saving
Waste - Waste use
Water - Water saving


water saving‚  energy saving‚  waste recycling‚  emission reduction‚  plastic waste‚  greenhouse gas‚  raw material consumption

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Plastic Metal S.p.A.
Type of organisation Large enterprise
Description Plastic Metal S.p.A. is a private company specialising in the production of thermo-plastics moulding injection presses. Its research department develops projects on the reuse of domestic and industrial plastic waste, mainly polypropylene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Partners FVirginio(Fratelli Virginio S.r.l.), Italy Vivi(Vivi S.r.l.), Italy Etra(Etra S.p.A.), Italy


Project reference LIFE13 ENV/IT/000477
Duration 01-JUL-2014 to 01-JUL -2017
Total budget 1,554,518.00 €
EU contribution 736,634.00 €
Project location Veneto(Italia)


Read more:

Leaflet Project's leaflet
Project web site Project's website


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version