AlliedSignal Polymers, in partnership with DSM Chemicals Ltd., said it is expecting to receive a European patent for nylon carpet recycling. With the introduction of depolymerization technology, large-scale recycling of post-consumer carpet is becoming a reality. The European patent will complement a U.S. patent that has been approved and will be issued later this year, according to AlliedSignal.
The U.S. patent is for technology capable of depolymerizing post-consumer nylon 6 carpets, as well as post-consumer nylon 6 automotive parts.
``While AlliedSignal has been depolymerizing its internal nylon 6 waste for more than 35 years, post-consumer carpets and automotive parts offer a challenge, due to the presence of other materials used to construct a carpet, as well as dirt deposited during the useful life of the carpet,'' AlliedSignal Polymers President Mark Bulriss said in a news release.
The carpet recycling process begins with material collection. Waste carpet is identifed by resin type using Near Infrared Technology. Nylon 6 components are depolymerized in the presence of steam.
After purification, the recovered materials can be polymerized, producing engineering resins and fibers.
``This technology means that recycling post-consumer and post-industrial nylon 6 carpet now has the potential to become commercially viable,'' he added.
Nearly 6.3 billion pounds of carpet were made in the United States in 1995, according to AlliedSignal Polymers, a Richmond, Va.-based division of AlliedSignal Inc.
The carpet used about 3 billion pounds of face fiber. The company said 4 billion pounds of carpet were discarded in 1995.
AlliedSignal is working with several companies to collect nylon 6 carpets.