Polypropylene Recovery and Recycling from Mussel Nets, article available on ResearchGate.net
A new article entitled Polypropylene Recovery and Recycling from Mussel Nets, written by our scientific director Loris Pietrelli, has been published on Research Gate.
Here the full version (in English)
Here is an abstract:
Mussels represent the lowest cost source of animal protein available on the market. Also from an environmental point of view, the production of mussels has an almost negligible impact especially when compared with the production of beef: 0.13-0.25 kg CO2 eq. for each kg of mussels produced against over 20 kg of CO2 eq for each kg of meat produced. Furthermore, mussels, as "filters", unlike fish raised in the sea, draw food directly from sea water, also contributing to the removal of nutrients which, if present in excess, are the basis of pollution phenomena. Despite this low environmental impact, mussel farming unfortunately represents a serious problem since it is related to the diffusion in the marine environment of the stockings used for farming.
For every kg of mussels it is necessary to use 1-1.5 m of net made of polypropylene, a polymer which takes a few hundred years to degrade if dispersed into the environment. Considering only the Italian production, a quantity of polypropylene mesh equivalent to more than 3 laps of our planet is used in one year!
According to current legislation, the screens used are to be considered a non-hazardous special waste and therefore subject to specific as well as onerous treatments. It is probably for this reason that they are often thrown into the sea, increasing the problems associated with marine and beach litter.
The LIFE MUSCLES project foresees the application of a simple process which allows the recovery and recycling of the polypropylene of the used nets. In addition to the obvious environmental advantage, the recycling of polypropylene would allow economic savings equal to more than 30% on the purchase of new screens.