In conjunction with its research program on separation, recovery, and recycling of metal, mineral, and energy-based materials in urban refuse, the Bureau of Mines is developing means to reuse and recycle plastics discarded in raw municipal waste. Experimental work on plastic waste from a community collection has produced some guidelines for systematic methods of processing, including air classification, cleaning, and separation into types. The polyvinyl chloride (pvc) fraction--as well as the other plastic fractions--can be refabricated. Incineration is a practical means of disposal for those plastics that do not contain chlorine. Thermal decomposition of pvc has yielded four products: (1) hydrochloric acid, (2) char, (3) liquid condensate, and (4) a combustible offgas. The hydrochloric acid can be utilized in chemical processing and the other three products could be used as fuel, with heat contents ranging from 12,000 to 20,000 btu per pound.
3D Min. Waste Util. Symp., Spons. by USBoM & IIT Res. Inst., Chicago, 3/14-16/72, PP. 429-437