Skip directly to content

Construction and printing materials fabricated from plastic component in used water bottles

The majority of plastic water bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the most commonly recycled plastic in the U.S. However, of the 2.3 metric tons (5.15 billion pounds) of water bottles used annually, only 28 percent is recycled.

Researchers at MicroGREEN Polymers Inc. and the University of Washington have developed a novel manufacturing process that converts used PET from water bottles into lightweight panels. The prototype fabricator produces multiple panels in a minute, making the process commercially viable.

The panels can carry loads as well as provide thermal insulation, so they could find application in the housing and light industrial construction sectors. In addition, the panels have a solid plastic skin that easily accepts printing, making them suitable for the graphics industry. All the products can be recycled.

During the manufacturing process, microcellular plastic sheets are formed, layered on top of each other and fusion bonded with heat to produce panels that are thick and strong, yet lightweight. This clean technology eliminates the use of volatile organic compounds and produces products that can be recycled multiple times.



  • recyled water bottles are transformed into lightweight panels for multiple applications
A laminator bonds RPET sheets into panels (Fig. 1). Unwinding RPET sheets (Fig. 2). The microcellular structure of a fused panel (Fig. 3).
MicroGREEN Polymers, Inc.

Recent Award Highlights

microchined samples cut with waterjets

Precision machining with waterjets

Technology advances broaden manufacturing capabilities

Research Areas: Engineering Locations: Washington
wireless sensors convert muscle activity into movements in popular computer games

Retraining the brain after injury with neurogame therapy

Approach improves hand function for children and adults

Research Areas: Engineering Locations: Washington