Investments, According to Covestro, Increase Polyurethane Recycling

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A European corporation forms alliances to seal the supply chain for tarps, mattress foam, and other goods.

The German-based polymers manufacturer Covestro AG claims that as it creates technologies to reuse plastics and bring them back into the value cycle, “often in close cooperation with partners,” it is working to “align itself comprehensively with circularity and help make it the global guiding principle.”

One recent partnership, with Swiss backpack and messenger bag manufacturer Freitag, aims to “enable infinite recycling of truck tarps based on thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs),” according to Covestro. According to the company, the tarps will be recycled chemically when their useful lives are through and utilized to make new tarps or other items.

Obtaining resources through mechanical recycling, according to Covestro, has been its primary priority up to this point. More recently, it has begun to look toward chemical recycling methods that include the chemical dissolution of polymer molecules.

Covestro claims that mechanical recycling is “especially ideal for polycarbonates,” and that there are already many Covestro products that fit the bill, such as polycarbonate blends for IT applications that contain up to 75% recovered material.

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The company adds that new plastic goods are created from the ground up to be simpler to recycle when their useful lives are through.

According to Covestro, which claims to be leading the effort, a group of commercial partners in the Circular Foam project are looking into methods for chemically recycling stiff polyurethane foam.

According to Covestro, chemical procedures are “the natural choice” for recycling polyurethanes (PU) and other thermoset goods because mechanical recycling is problematic for them. As part of a research study with collaborators, Covestro claims to have created a cutting-edge process for recovering both essential raw ingredients from PU mattress foam.

Producing mattress foam requires the usage of polyols and the isocyanate TDI. The precursor is recovered from the TDI, and after reprocessing, both raw components can be utilized to create new foam. The project’s brand name is Evocycle, and according to the business, “the results achieved to date are being tested in a pilot plant at the Leverkusen [Germany] facility.”

In order to develop recycling collection and processing so that recyclables can ultimately be given to Covestro for chemical recycling, Covestro is collaborating with recycling company Interseroh, a company within the Alba Group. Covestro and Eco-mobilier, a French environmental protection organization that specializes in the gathering and recycling of used furniture, are working together to achieve a similar objective.

According to the company, Covestro is coordinating a research study on circular foam with 22 industry partners from nine different countries. According to Covestro, professionals from science, business, and society intend to create a complete model for the disposal and recycling of such foams over the course of the next four years.

According to the firm, the Circular Foam initiative has the potential to divert up to 1 million metric tons of garbage from the landfill each year in Europe for recycling.

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