Company manages to recycle hard-to-recover plastics – 05/25/2023 – Market

Company manages to recycle hard-to-recover plastics – 05/25/2023 – Market

A national company created about six years ago announced this Thursday (25) that it has developed a process for recycling plastics such as those used in food packaging and which are currently difficult to reuse, in what it hopes will be able to foster a new market. for a material that is commonly disposed of improperly in the country.

The so-called bioriented polypropylene (BOPP) is a type of plastic film used in packaging for products such as snacks and which, in addition to label printing ink, receives other layers such as aluminum and varnish and adhesives that end up practically making the material unusable for reuse purposes. .

“The big problem for the environment is flexible plastics, which are very difficult to be recycled. The vast majority goes to landfill”, said Marcelo Mason, director of sustainability at Deink, the company created in 2017 that developed a recycling process of the material he named 4D.

The acronym is a reference to the steps of the process: delamination, demetallization, deinking and disruption. According to the company, which invested BRL 85 million in a facility in the interior of São Paulo to recycle flexible multi-layer plastics, large multinational consumer products companies such as Nestlé are interested in the technology.

The company started from a process of removing paint from plastics that businessman Rogério Mani, president of Abief (Brazilian Association of Flexible Plastic Packaging Industry), licensed from researchers at the Spanish university of Alicante. The plan was to have a factory operating as early as 2020, when the project had to be postponed by a year due to the pandemic. Mani, founder of Deink, was in charge of operations until 2022 and is currently chairman of the board of directors.

The company was eventually able to be accelerated by Ambev, which indicated one of its suppliers, Valgroup, the largest plastics recycler in Brazil, for a strategic partnership that included investment in a stake in Deink, Mason said, without giving details about the slice.

The company now wants to have a first 4D multi-layer plastics recycling line working at the plant installed in Itupeva (SP) from June, with plans for a second line soon, depending on the level of demand. In the long term, 2030, the company estimates to have eight more lines with the technology not only in São Paulo but in other regions of the country, said Mason.

The executive stated that, after being recycled, BOPP plastic generates a resin that can be transformed into plastic film and that also has a series of applications including in the production of components for white goods. This versatility minimizes the limitation of use for food purposes, for the time being restricted by Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency). “But getting food grade is the big goal,” he said.

“In Europe, there is already an obligation to use (recyclable plastics in product packaging), so brands have to insert recycled material”, said Mason. According to him, this helps with demand in view of the currently higher cost of recycled film versus virgin film. The executive, however, avoided mentioning values.

Deink already has a Brazilian patent on the process and intends to seek patents in the United States, Europe and Asia as of June, said Mason. The executive added that the 4D method is a hybrid approach between chemical and mechanical recycling processes, with the chemical step without solvents occurring in a closed cycle.

The technology could place the company as a rival to the paper industry, which has been surfing the “green” wave of replacing packaging and single-use plastics with their paper versions. “The issue with plastic is getting it back into jail and bringing circularity to this waste,” said Mason.

“Plastic recycling in the next five years tends to grow exponentially,” he said.

According to Deink, Brazil is the fourth largest producer of plastic waste in the world, with more than 2.4 million tons of plastic being disposed of irregularly. In the case of BOPP, the national market demands around 170 thousand tons per year. With the opening of the 4D line in June, Deink’s recycling capacity will increase to 25 thousand tons per year.

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