One of the existing priorities of the European Union is to search for rational waste management and to keep such waste in the economic cycle, while meeting the highest safety requirements. The present paper, written by Justyna Tomaszewska (ITB) presents the CEPLAFIB results of environmental tests of composites based on the polyethylene (rPE) and polypropylene (rPP) matrix and reinforced with cellulose fibres (newsprint, NP). Raw materials were obtained by recycling post-consumer waste such as beverage bottles and newsprint. The composites were tested for their potential use as materials in cladding panels and acoustic barriers. Given that normative documents for these products do not define specific environmental requirements, the composites were tested for the release of dangerous substances, such as anions of inorganic compounds, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and their impact on the environment.
A detailed in-depth analysis of the mechanisms of release of substances (diffusion, dissolution, surface leaching and depletion) from the rPP/NP composite into surface water, groundwater and soil was carried out. In turn, emission of VOCs from the rPE (low-density:high-density (LD:HD)—50:50) and rPE (LD:HD—30:70) composites into indoor air was also carried out. Raw materials in the form of granulates and loose cellulose fibres, used to produce the composites, were also tested for their environmental impact.