US Dow moves ahead with plastics recycling from incineration

23 May 2011 17:08  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Dow Chemical
has generated energy from used plastics, pioneering an alternative and more sustainable end-of-life use for plastics than landfill, the US producer said on Monday.

Dow conducted tests using linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) at its manufacturing site in Midland, Michigan, US. These showed that that 96% of the available energy could be recovered from incinerating 578lb (262kg) of the recycled plastic, an amount equivalent to approximately 11.1m Btu of natural gas.

"The purpose of the test was to collect data showing that used plastic can provide a valuable source of energy, and ultimately help reduce our need for natural gas or other fossil fuels," explained Jeff Wooster, Dow’s Plastics Sustainability Leader for its North American Plastics business.

"Energy recovery and chemical transformation do not replace the traditional means of recycling plastics," Wooster continued, "they extend and compliment it."

The US is behind Europe in salvaging trapped energy from recovered materials. Dow said its $100m (€71m) Energy Intensity Improvement Fund is developing several energy-efficiency projects, including the one at Michigan.

Wooster added: "Our next step is to help find a way to scale up this more sustainable practice in the United States."

The company has a long-term aim of recycling 100% of used packaging.

($1 = €0.71)

For more on Dow Chemical visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Jade Tinslay
+44 20 8652 3214

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