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Solvay to Open Textile Recycling Facility in Poland in 2016

Construction is underway on a technical-textile recycling facility in Gorzów, Poland, and it’s on track to be operational in 2016, according to officials.

Belgian chemical company Solvay said on Monday that its European Commission-backed Move4earth project for the reuse of technical textile waste from post-industrial sources has had its proprietary technology validated. The industrial-scale facility will open next year.

The process is designed to turn technical textile waste—initially from airbags—into high-quality polyamide 6.6 (PA6.6) grades with reduced environmental impacts but “no significant loss in materials properties” that will complement Solvay Engineering Plastics’ Technyl Force portfolio of engineering polymers.

“The demand for cost-efficient yet high-performance recycled plastics is growing across all European markets, as processors and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are seeking to reduce their dependency on fossil resources whose prices are rather volatile and constantly rising,” said Peter Browning, Solvay Engineering Plastics general manager, noting that revised waste legislation, expected later this year, means that major customers in all PA6.6 markets are planning to up the recycled content in their products by more than 20 percent by 2020.

He added, “Move4earth underscores our efforts aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of our activities and those of our customers and it confirms our dedicated reliance on European industrial assets.”

The project also meets a demand for more effective recycling solutions to help minimize large volumes of valuable engineering plastic waste.

“More than 70 percent of all automotive airbags in Europe are made of silicone-coated nylon fabrics, mostly based on PA6.6,” explained Richard Bourdon, Move4earth project director at Solvay. “While regulations such as [EU waste] directive 2000/53/EC are setting high targets for end-of-life recycling and reuse of materials in vehicles, there is no sustainable solution in place for post-consumer airbag waste in Europe.”

He continued, “Our mid-term objective is to establish an efficient and sustainable way of reusing these resources and provide pure high-grade PA6.6 recycle compounds with stable properties near those of virgin Technyl resins for a wide range of eco-designed applications.”