We love recycling industrial plastic scrap. It is what we live for here at Seraphim Plastics. So we’re always excited to learn about new projects that could ultimately lead to new and better ways to recycle. One of the more recent projects to make the news involves recycling automotive mixed plastics.
This isn’t something that we would get into for the simple fact that it requires a whole different infrastructure and business model. Nonetheless, if the companies behind the project can manage to scale it up, a whole bunch of industrial plastic waste produced by automotive recycling could be recovered and used to make new plastic resins.
A Closed Loop Project
The project in question is a closed loop project being undertaken by four entities: Eastman, the United States Automotive Materials Partnership LLC (USAMP), Padnos, and Yanfeng. Padnos is an automotive recycler while Yanfeng designs and manufactures automotive interiors.
Automotive mixed plastics are the target here. These are mixed plastics generated as a result of recycling old cars. Desirable metals, glass, and tires are removed from old cars before what remains is sent through a gigantic shredder. What comes out of the shredder is known as automotive shredder residue (ASR). The ASR is typically sent to a landfill or applied to waste-to-energy processes.
In this instance, however, Eastman has found a way to chemically treat the ASR in order to separate out plastic materials. Those materials can then be reduced to the molecular level, recovered, and harnessed as ‘ingredients’ for new plastic resins.
A Highly Complex Process
We will not even attempt to explain how all this works from a scientific standpoint. Needless to say that the project involves a highly complex process that took a lot of smarts to figure out. Kudos to the engineers and scientists who did it.
By comparison, our process is fairly simple. We collect industrial scrap plastic from customers in seven states including Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. We transport that plastic back to one of our facilities where it is reduced to plastic regrind by way of a series of grinders and magnets.
Regrind is ready to sell to manufacturers who combine it with virgin plastic pellets to manufacture new products. Manufacturers appreciate regrind because it reduces their need for new material.
We aren’t exactly sure what goes into the Eastman process, but we suspect it takes a lot more time and effort. But if it works, then great. Here’s hoping Eastman and its partners can scale up the process and still maintain financial viability. Their success would give us yet another avenue for recovering plastic waste rather than sending it to landfills or incinerators.
We Might Want Your Industrial Scrap Plastic
If your company is active in one of the seven states we service, we might be interested in your plastic waste. We routinely purchase loads of clean plastic waste in the form of plastic pallets, totes and buckets, dunnage trays, plastic purge and cutoffs, and more. We do not purchase any residential plastics.
We will come to your facility for pickup. Will haul the plastic waste away at no expense to you. You will get your warehouse space back, you will not have to fill up space in your dumpster, and you’ll be helping us keep even more plastic out of the local landfill.
If you would like to know more about what we do and whether your plastic is something we are interested in, give us a shout. In the meantime, we will be keeping an eye on the Eastman project to see where it goes. So far, so good!