Solvay, Mitsubishi Chemical Team to Recycle Polysulfone Thermoplastics

polysulfone thermoplastic recycling

(Credit: Solvay)

by | Mar 29, 2022

polysulfone thermoplastic recycling

(Credit: Solvay)

Medical equipment made with polysulfone thermoplastic will be recycled, with the goal of the material eventually being reused for its original purposes, as part of an initiative between Solvay and Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials.

As part of the partnership, the companies are studying the recovery, recycling and reprocessing of Solvay’s Udel polysulfone (PSU) medical components. The project involves using a system developed by Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials to wash and mechanically purify the material along with Solvay’s ability to evaluate the chemistry at the end of the polymer’s expected use.

The companies plan to produce recycled materials that meet all necessary specifications for reuse in the industry.

“With this project, we want to show, in a practical way, that it is possible to recycle high-value Udel PSU parts used in the medical field, yielding important savings in CO2 emissions along the production and supply chain,” says Antonella Di Meo, product sustainability manager at Solvay.

Polysulfones are high performance thermoplastics known for their ability to maintain stability at high temperatures. They are resistant to breaking down in hot water or steam and are often used in the medical and food industries where frequent sanitation takes place.

Medical materials can be considered tough to recycle because of potential contamination, but Recycling Internationals says 85% of medical plastic waste is clean. The report says healthcare facilities in the United States generate around 14,000 tons of waster per day, a quarter of which is from plastic materials.

Plastic waste remains a top priority in sustainability efforts. Representatives from 175 countries endorsed a United Nations proposal earlier this year to end plastic waste, and Research and Markets reported in 2021 that the plastic recycling market is expected to surpass $47 billion by 2026.

Mitsubishi Chemical is also involved in the Alliance to End Plastic Waste.

The companies have previously teamed up to recycle other high-performance polymers, such as Solvay KetaSpire polyetheretherketone.

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