France’s Arkema exec to chair European PMMA recycling project

Author: Jonathan Lopez

2018/10/25

LONDON (ICIS)--Arkema’s scientific director is to chair the EU-wide MMAtwo project, a research programme to study the recycling by depolymerization of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) waste, the French chemical major said on Thursday.

The project aims to find ways to turn PMMA waste back into raw material.

The four-year project is a consortium of 13 producers and consumers of PMMA in six different European countries.

It has been funded by the EU with €6.6m under the umbrella of the 28-country bloc’s Horizon 2020 Research programme.

Arkema’s scientific director Jean-Luc Dubois will chair MMAtwo’s executive committee, the company said.

“The challenge of this project consists in converting PMMA post-industrial scraps and end-of-life waste into high quality raw material and therefore contribute to the circular economy,” said Arkema.

“Only 10% of European PMMA production is currently recycled, and the existing recycling processes tend to focus on post-industrial scraps.”

Around 300,000 tonnes/year of PMMA are produced in Europe, according to MMAtwo, with a market value of close to €1bn.

PMMA is often used in sheet form as a lightweight or shatter-resistant alternative to glass. It is widely used in flat screen televisions.

The company added, however, that the largest share of PMMA waste stream would concern end-of-life products that are either exported, landfilled or incinerated.

Apart from Arkema, MMAtwo's partners include:

- Heathland, a Dutch collector and recycler of PMMA waste;
- Comet Traitements, a Belgian recycler of end-of-life vehicles;
- Ecologic, a French private non-profit company;
- Delta Glass (part of Polyplastic Group), a Dutch producer of PMMA windows;
- JSW Europe, a Germany-based division of Japan Steel Works;
- Speichim (part of Seche-Environnement group, a French waste treatment player;
- AKG-Gazbeton, a Turkish company manufacturing heat-insulated, light, non-combustible autoclaved aerated concrete blocks and reinforced products as well as insulating boards;
- The University of Gent in Belgium;
- Quantis, a Switzerland-based specialist in Life Cycle Analysis;
- Process Design Center, a Dutch firm for process development, integration and optimisation;
- Certech, a Belgian applied research centre in chemistry; and
- Ayming, a French consulting company.

The MMAtwo’s advisory board will have representatives from EU chemicals trade group Cefic's Methacrylate subgroup.

Additional reporting by Katherine Sale