While Teijin Aramid has been recycling para-aramid Twaron fibers at its own recycling facilities for the past two decade, the company has long sought a solution for its other products, including its difficult-to-recycle Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene, Endumax.
The company has now joined forces with Clariter, an advanced recycling company that has developed a patented process through which plastic waste streams are upcycled into high-value, ready-to-use pure industrial products, including aliphatic solvents, white mineral oils and paraffin waxes.
Clariter’s technology accepts the majority of plastic waste streams and yields fossil-fuel alternatives that are able to be used as ingredients to make more than 1,000 clean, everyday end- and consumer products. Moreover, an lifecycle analysis carried out by an independent third party in 2020 determined that the carbon footprint of Clariter’s process is net carbon negative.
To determine the suitability of Teijin’s UHMWPE for chemical recycling based on Clariter’s process, feedstock tests were carried out at Clariter's operational pilot plant in Gliwice, Poland using samples such as fishing nets, ropes and air cargo containers made from high resistance UHMWPE. The tests showed that chemical recycling of these products into a feedstock was possible. For example, the wax produced via this process could be used to coat fishing nets, thus, in a sense closing the loop; other products, such as solvents and oils, derived from the feedstock can be used in numerous production processes or in other applications.
”Via this partnership with Clariter, Teijin Aramid has set a next step in the recyclability of Endumax,” said Hendrik de Zeeuw, director of marketing and sales at Teijin Aramid. “That means Endumax is now in the same league as the other products of Teijin Aramid, which is overall a great achievement.”
The ability to recycle Endumax will also enable Teijin to fully comply with the requirements of the end users in the aerospace business that, after use, the full air cargo containers, including the panels, can be recycled, he added.
Clariter is planning to build and operate a full-scale plant located in the near vicinity of Teijin Aramid in Delfzijl, the Netherlands. Moreover, preparations for more plants are ongoing in Poland and Israel.
“Working with a partner like Teijin Aramid and proving that chemical recycling is the solution for the plastic waste epidemic, has brought us again a bit closer to the cleaner and more sustainable future ,” said Jasper Munier, Clariter business development manager for Northwest Europe. “As a next step, we want to process samples of much larger quantities and types at our 15,000-square-meter Industrial-scale Plant in East London, South Africa. We look forward to working with Teijin Aramid team of experts and together positioning chemical recycling as an irreplaceable recycling solution."
Teijin Aramid is a subsidiary of the Teijin Group and world leader in aramids. These high-performance materials are produced in the Netherlands, Thailand and Japan.