Austrian recycler MGG Polymers has created a new type of recycled plastic sourced from the complex white goods waste stream. It has been difficult to commercialise recycled plastic content from these bulky products due to contamination from mineral fillers.
‘Your washing machine and dryer are mainly made out of steel and polypropylene (PP),’ explains Chris Slijkhuis, consultant at MGG Polymers in Kematens. ‘The problem is, PP contains minerals like talc, calcium carbonate and glass fibre to stabilise and strengthen the product. As a result, Slijkhuis says, most white goods end up at car shredders instead of e-scrap recyclers.
‘There are not many electronics inside them so they are not an attractive asset,’ he points out. ‘They are commonly shredded, yielding a fraction of heavily polluted plastic scrap – not exactly high-quality output.’ After three years of R&D, the MGG Polymers solution offers three recycled PP fractions. These were first presented at the K Show in Germany in October, drawing much praise from visitors.
The recycler notes that identifying reference particles and optimising the samples took hard work and focus. With the help of industry partners, it was able to efficiently separate out ‘pesky’ fillers to yield a ‘virgin-grade’ PP fraction. ‘Don’t take our word for it; we heard this from top executives at Whirlpool,’ Slijkhuis tells Recycling International.
‘They can use our recycled material in their manufacturing process, finally enabling a closed loop for plastics from washing machines, fridges or dish washers. We hope to mirror the success of bottle-to-bottle recycling plants. I am confident this breakthrough will open up a whole new world for everyone targeting e-scrap plastics.’
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