The quality of today’s recyclates are a vast improvement over the output of recycling processes only a few short years ago. From a technical perspective, recycled plastics are now a real alternative to new materials, according to Germany-based environmental services provider Interseroh.
“The use of high-quality recycled plastics offers both ecological and economic advantages for the processing industry,” says Markus Müller-Drexel, managing director of Interseroh Dienstleistungs GmbH. “Recyclates are the viable answer to the challenges of climate change and dwindling primary resources. In many areas, they perform just as well as new materials, they help to conserve raw materials and they also improve companies’ sustainability footprints.”
At the Fakuma plastics trade fair, Interseroh will be demonstrating what today’s recyclates can do, he said.
As part of the Alba Group, Interseroh has developed - together with Alba - its proprietary Recycled Resource process , making use of the most advanced technology, to produce the company’s Procyclen and Recythen recyclates. The recyclates are derived from collected household waste - mainly polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) packaging - and production scrap, which is then rigorously sorted, treated and refined into a high-quality secondary material of a consistent quality.
Recythen is suitable for applications such as cable reels, garden furniture, drainage pipes and cable conduits; Procyclen is described as a customisable ‘recompound’. Its formulation can be adjusted to meet customers’ exact requirements in terms of fluidity, stability, UV/thermal resistance and colouration. Interseroh says it is increasingly gaining new areas of application. Among others, Procyclen is now used in the manufacturing of designer furniture, sports goods and packaging elements for decorative cosmetics. Interoh’s development work is carried out at its Centre of Competence for Plastics Recycling in Maribor, Slovenia , which, in 2020, was awarded official international accreditation. This laboratory is the only recognised research institution in the EU to be specialised in the development and analysis of recycled plastics.
The company can, moreover, back up its sustainability claims: these were recently verified by a life cycle assessment carried out by Fraunhofer UMSICHT on behalf of Interseroh. According to this study, the use of Procyclen saves an average of 1,002 kg of greenhouse gases per tonne compared to virgin plastics made from crude oil - equal to a 56% reduction in greenhouse gas emission. At the same time, the primary energy consumption per tonne decreased by an average of 21,199 kWh – equivalent to using a washing machine 14,133 times. The savings achieved through the use of Recythen were just as impressive: as much as 1,100 kg of greenhouse gases and 22,254 kWh of primary energy per tonne.
Numbers like these, as Interseroh demonstrates, impact in a positive way on the sustainability balance sheet of plastics processing companies, and show that recyclates today can offer a contemporary solution for a more sustainable form of production.