- Covestro a member of the drafting committee of China’s Guobiao (GB) standards on recycled polycarbonates
- Unified quality specifications for recycled polycarbonates from post-consumer and post-industrial waste
Covestro, a leading global polymer manufacturer, is focusing on innovative recycling as one of the key levers to achieve a circular economy. China is one of the most important producing countries for plastics in the world and is taking various measures to promote domestic plastics recycling while banning or restricting single-use plastics. Working with a consortium of partners from the recycling value chain in China, Covestro contributed to the recent development of national standards for recycled polycarbonate, a highly durable and versatile engineering plastic with high recycled value.
For use from July 13, 2021, specifications on the quality and property requirements for recycled polycarbonates from post-consumer and post-industrial waste have been developed in the Guobiao (GB) standards. In addition, standards for testing methods, packaging, transportation and storage of these recycled materials will be introduced to ensure proper handling throughout the value chain.
"Creating uniform standards is essential to improve the polycarbonate recycling value chain while promoting the use of these recycled materials in downstream applications," said Kayla Wu, global program manager of mechanical recycling, Covestro's Engineering Plastics segment. "As a global leader in polycarbonate sustainability solutions, Covestro is proud to contribute our expertise to the development of the national standards while living up to our vision of full circularity."
Improving quality and traceability in recycling
To turn polycarbonate waste into high-quality recyclates, the materials need to go through many quality control steps and specifications and require close collaboration along the value chain. End-of-life polycarbonate products are first collected, sorted, shredded and cleaned before being reprocessed into pellets by recycling companies. Covestro then blends these recyclates with virgin polycarbonates to produce high-quality post-consumer recycled materials to be used again in new products like laptops, copiers, printers and other electronic devices.
In its collaboration with Chinese beverage producer Nongfu Spring and recycling company Ausell, Covestro has gone one step further in closing the material loop with new business models. Through this collaboration, the companies have further optimized the recycling efficiency of Nongfu Spring's 19-liter polycarbonate barrels and improved the traceability and quality of recycled materials. Building on this success, Covestro plans to further look into other waste streams such as e-waste to help the electrical and electronics industry build a circular economy.
"Improving the quality and standardization of recycled plastics is key to the transition to a Circular Economy. The Chinese GB standards for polycarbonate recyclates will create even more transparency regarding the quality of recycled polycarbonates, thus boosting market demand," says Daner Xue, product technology expert of Covestro's Engineering Plastics segment.