Plastics Recycling Update

How one firm is pushing forward laminated film processing

Zzyzx Polymers has developed a method for blending post-consumer laminated films into an injection-grade polymer.

The Allentown, Pa. company’s work is featured in the latest newsletter from PAC NEXT, which is part of the industry-funded PAC Packaging Consortium. One of PAC NEXT’s projects is to develop recycling strategies for multi-layer laminated films and bags.

Phil Brunner, chief technology officer at Zzyzx (pronounced “ziziks”), wrote the company uses a novel mechanochemical technique to create a wide range of polymer blends, concentrates and compounds.

Through a high-shear process, immiscible polymers are compatibilized and fillers/additives are dispersed evenly through the mixture, he explained. The thorough mixing – in this case, a uniform dispersion on a nano to micro level – improves the plastic’s properties.

Zzyzx uses this process to create pellets from post-consumer laminated films, among other plastics, Brunner wrote. The pellets can be converted into an injection-moldable product that can handle materials at temperatures up to water’s boiling point.

“This injection moldable product has tunable color, good stiffness and impact resistance,” according to a product data sheet.

The company’s process of recycling mixed plastics earned it a spot as a finalist in the 2014 Recycling Innovators Forum at the Resource Recycling Conference in New Orleans.

The innovation also last year won a $737,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, money it planned to use for research into recycling plastics without the need for extensive cleaning or sorting.

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