Sulzer has helped to open new doors in the reuse of ocean-bound plastic waste by providing technical support to Tide Ocean SA and the Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences.
Using its expertise in polymer processing, the Sulzer Chemtech AG, Winterthur/Switzerland, has developed a method to turn recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into high-quality foams that match the properties of virgin plastics. This development will help Tide Ocean to accelerate its work in addressing pollution and increasing the adoption of recycled polymer-based products.
The specialist in the field of ocean-bound plastic upcycling, Tide Ocean SA, Basel/Switzerland, collects and transforms this waste into premium raw materials, the award-winning #tide ocean material, for new sustainable products. The company is able to process a wide range of polymer waste including PET from plastic bottles, polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE). These are currently turned into pellets, yarn and filament which can be used in a variety of applications such as plastic injection, textiles and 3D printing.
In the search for new processes to upcycle ocean-bound plastic waste, OST – University of Applied Sciences Eastern Switzerland, Gallen/Switzerland, approached Sulzer Chemtech. Leveraging its pilot plant facility equipped with cutting-edge foaming equipment, the company has proven that it is possible to use the recycled granules to produce expanded PET (XPET) foam boards. It also defined the key processing conditions to obtain boards that are indistinguishable from conventional XPET made from virgin plastic. This will enable Tide Ocean to offer products that can be used in packaging and construction, helping to improve the sustainability of these industries.
»We are always looking for new applications for our recycled plastic pellets. The ability to produce expanded foams opens new doors to a wide range of markets, helping us reduce plastic waste by upcycling it to obtain advanced materials.«