MOSCOW (MRC) -- Covestro has developed an innovative process for recycling polycarbonate, i.e. polychain plastics, said the company.
In this process, plastics are converted back into their monomers, a precursor of plastics, so that they can be fed back into the production process as alternative raw materials. At Covestro in Leverkusen, the technical implementation of chemical recycling is now beginning on a pilot scale. On the way to industrial scale, the process is still being optimized and is undergoing further development stages.
"As a manufacturer of plastics such as polycarbonate, we naturally have a responsibility in dealing with these important materials, including at the end of their product life. Our advantage is: we know how our products are designed and can therefore conduct targeted research into recycling solutions," says Dr. Thorsten Dreier, Covestro's Chief Technology Officer. "The chemical recycling of polycarbonate is another example with which our colleagues in development show that closed cycles are possible in the future. We need to use end-of-life plastics as a resource and reuse them as alternative raw materials to close the loop."
The return of plastics through recycling replaces primary fossil raw materials in production. Comprehensive recycling thus contributes to climate neutrality and the protection of natural resources and the environment. Mechanical recycling of polycarbonate is already an important component of Covestro's recycling strategy. The mechanical recycling process is used whenever waste streams are sufficiently pure and the recycled polycarbonate meets the requirements profile of the future application.
Chemical recycling works in a complementary way to mechanical recycling - it converts plastic building blocks back into monomers, i.e. their individual building blocks. These can be separated and serve as raw materials for future plastic. Chemical recycling can therefore make larger waste streams that are unsuitable for mechanical processes in particular accessible for recycling; it allows the production of plastics that meet the highest quality requirements. Covestro is therefore actively developing chemical recycling.
We remind, Covestro has commenced a new manufacturing line for thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) that will be utilized for paint protection films (PPFs). The line is installed at the firm's current Taiwanese facility in Changhua. Products manufactured here will be available in the global market. The world's PPF market is expected to rise steadily until 2030, with Asia-Pacific representing the biggest share of the overall market.