Innovative solutions based around the principle of the Circular Economy to turn waste into thermal insulation, detergents and adhesives.
Through its Centre of Excellence for the Environment, Ferrovial Services, together with the recycling plant for electrical and electronic devices (RAEE in Spanish) and bulk waste in Cerceda (Galicia), has successfuly led a consotrium of 8 businesses to carry out the project "REPUR" - Recycling polyurethane: an initiative that has delivered viable solutions for mechanical and chemical recycling of rigid and flexible polyurethane foam. Polyurethane, a material used in everyday objects such as mattresses, sofas, car seats and freezers, is one of the most difficult materials to recycle, as it has no material or energy added value. Once its useful life is over, it is thrown into landfill, with the resulting negative environmental and economic impact. In an effort to address this recycling challenge, Ferrovial’s Centre of Excellence for the Environment has produced new recycled foams, detergents and adhesives from flexible polyurethane foam. Following two years of research, the Centre has shown that two recycling options for polyurethane are technically, financially and environmentally feasible. Option one is to use it as padding material for the production of thermal insulation panels. A commercial scale trial has shown that rigid polyurethane foam can take the place of up to 20% of the raw materials currently used for padding insulation panels, whilst maintaining the same properties. The second recycling option is the production of new polyurethane foams, adhesives and detergents. This project, which started in 2013, has been developed thanks to the financial support of the CDTI (Centre for Industrial Technological Development) through the 'FEDER INTERCONECTA' programme in Galicia. Ferrovial Services committed to the Circular Economy This project and the results obtained are further proof that Ferrovial Services is fully committed to the circular economy, closing the circle in the life cycle of this particular waste material by transforming it into secondary raw materials which can be used for products of the same quality, technical properties and function as those made from virgin raw materials.