DuPont Technology Aids Recycling

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND | DuPont announces Entira EP copolymers, high-performance compatibilizers based on ethylene copolymers that are said to be able to boost the performance of recycled polyolefins to a similar level as virgin resins. Company says this is a solution to the problem of recycling waste streams based on mixed plastics that has often proved to be unfeasible from a performance and cost-benefit perspective.

According to company, mixed streams containing polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) are often difficult to separate due to the similarities in densities. If a waste stream of one of these two polymers is contaminated by the other one, the resulting mechanical properties are often very low. This can make it difficult or impossible to process such feedstock using standard polymer extrusion or injection technologies.

Reportedly, adding Entira EP compatibilizer (typically 3-7 wt%) bridges the PE contaminant to the PP matrix (or vice-versa) and creates a homogeneous recycled resin. It leads to increased performance and surface properties for items manufactured with such “upgrade” recycled resin. In addition to its use for production of bulky items, such recycled resins will be suitable for use in higher value applications, as in thin films and membranes for the construction industry.

Entira EP is also being used for compatibilization of PP with polyvinylbutyral (PVB) in commercial applications. One example: Hainaut-Plast, a French leader in recycling of PVB, is using it in diverse end-use applications such as sound-deadening parts for automotive. The process used to recover PVB from waste glass shields, combined with the addition of Entira EP, is said to result in a more economical and efficient recycling process.

“This market-driven collaboration with DuPont was essential to enable production of a recycled material for high-performance applications,” says Bruno Gautier, development manager at Hainaut-Plast. “The new Entira EP technology allows us to achieve a more distinct recycled product while simultaneously optimizing our production.”

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