NEWS ReSyk Breathes New Life into Plastic Scrap
ReSyk Inc. (Brigham City, UT) has developed a new technology that can transform a manufacturer's plastic scrap into new products without the need to clean or separate the plastics into different types.
According to Chris Brough, an engineer for the company, the traditional approach to recycling is to pick out only those plastics that are suitable for recycling and make sure they are free of contaminants, which is an expensive procedure and one that does not motivate companies to recycle. With ReSyk's equipment, commingled, contaminated, plastic waste can be processed and bonded together without the need for cleaning or separation.
First, Brough explains, the plastics are ground into 3/8-in. chips. The material is then moved to the compounder where it is blended and heated so the chips stick together, without the use of bonding agents. Rather than melting one of the plastics and having the other plastics act as fillers, the process actually bonds all the different types of plastics together, Brough explains. "So far," he says, "we haven't encountered a plastic that we could not use." The bonded material has the consistency of asphalt, which can then be formed into different shapes through extrusion or compression molding. Once it is molded into shape, the product is cooled.
There are several advantages to this method, Brough says, in addition to the most obvious one—that of commingling different types of plastics. The technology is able to handle thermosets, unlike traditional recycling methods, which allows products to be recycled more frequently. "We process the plastics at low temperatures," Brough says, "thereby decreasing the effects of heat history." Furthermore, nonplastic contaminants that might be mixed in with the plastic do not create problems during the recycling process.
Using ReSyk's technology, pharmaceutical companies could recycle their plastic waste and turn it into usable products, such as pallets, says Brough.