A New Perspective for Recycling Plastics TechnylⓇ 4earthⓇ
As industry embraces the circular economy and the benefits of recycling and re-use of materials, demand for recycled plastics for commercial applications is growing. Regulatory push and economic pull are driving automotive, building and construction, and electronics manufacturers, in particular, to seek recycled plastic for use in their sustainable product designs.
Major manufacturers, such as Renault or Philips, are targeting recycled content of 20% and more in their products in the coming years, with Kärcher, the leading maker of pressure washers, aiming for a more ambitious 60%.
The demand for recycled plastic is expected to triple over the next decade. The challenge is to be in a position to produce high quality material from the widest variety of waste. This means new technologies will be required for this task.
Proof of concept
Move 4earthⓇ project is a proof of concept of one such specialty recycling solution. This project, supported by European Commission Life+ program, takes scrap from airbag waste and transforms it into high quality recycled polyamide PA66 for applications in the automotive for example.
“We are still in the learning phase. We have been producing our TechnylⓇ 4earthⓇ for less than 2 years. And we can fairly confirm that it is working. We are demonstrating that the technology is working. We are delivering to our pioneered customers with high quality recycled PA66 on time and in full. We are ready to accompagn their ambition to growth with our solution.” says Nicolas FORIEN, Move 4EarthⓇ Project Director.
The process involves shredding the silicone-coated airbag waste fabric and then chemically undoing the polyamide-silicone bond. These elements are then separated, the polyamide fibers are washed and dried, and the resulting polyamide powder is transformed into a pellet form – TechnylⓇ 4earthⓇ – usable in compounding processes for application initially dedicated to prime grade.
We want to extend our customers portfolio. We are looking at increasing the capacity of our unit by having potentially add-on features. Clearly, our ambition is to keep on growing by exploring the post-consumers airbags collection.
For longer term, the most important thing will be the product and process design, he suggests. Manufacturers need to redesign the way they produce things to make it easier to dismantle and recycle them. Integrating the end of life aspect in industry is a key pillar of the circular economy. “Our technology can give perspectives to car manufacturers and other OEMs to study how to better enable the separate collection of this waste, to achieve a new industrial perspective.”