Chemical recycling firm GreenMantra Technologies Ltd. announced June 23 it has received a C$300,000 (US$242,000) grant from the Canadian government to develop a system to recycle personal protective equipment and reduce waste from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Brantford, Ontario, company said it will take single-use PPE from Canadian hospitals as a feedstock and use a proprietary process to heat the material in the presence of a catalyst to produce waxes and specialty polymers.
The grant is part of a federal program, called Innovative Solutions Canada, to invest in solutions to challenges from the pandemic, in this case, large amounts of hard-to-recycle PPE such as medical masks, surgical gowns and respirators made with plastics.
"PPE waste streams are rich in the polyolefins that are ideal feedstocks for GreenMantra's advanced recycling process," said Donald Wiseman, chief operating officer. "We are pleased that our technology can address one of the pandemic's challenges while contributing to the Canadian economy."
The company said its process produces specialty polymers that can be used as additives in construction materials like asphalt, roofing shingles, drainage pipes and plastic lumber, replacing fossil fuel-based additives.
Domenic Di Mondo, chief commercial officer, said the grant will fund research and development "to create a safe and economical way to collect and process polyethylene and polypropylene waste through our advanced recycling process."
"The goal is to develop a stream of feedstock that can be used within our existing and future commercial-scale advanced recycling facilities," he said. "This will be on the scale of millions of pounds per year of diverted PPE with the potential to increase to tens of millions of pounds."
GreenMantra said it is the second grant it has received from the Canadian government. In 2020, the company received $1 million as part of the federal government's "Plastics Innovation Challenge" for recycling insulation into polymer additives.