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Polyurethane Recycling Gains as Regulatory and Cost Pressures Mount

SpecialChem / Sep 20, 2006

Polyurethane recycling is an issue that is becoming increasingly important, especially in Europe, where landfill space is dwindling and waste disposal costs are soaring. Growing regulatory pressures to "close the loop" in polyurethane (PUR) product life cycles are additional factors promoting recycling. Many innovative recycling technologies have emerged over the past decade, and quite a few of them are already being used routinely. Which particular recycling process is suitable for a particular product depends on the nature of the material, plus a variety of economic and environmental considerations. For example, incinerating PUR wastes for their energy value may be a viable option if many different products are co-mingled and regulations limit their disposal in landfills. But if the wastes are relatively pure, it is often more profitable to break them down into valuable monomeric PUR starting materials.The European Union is gradually implementing stringent new quotas on recycling and energy recovery for materials used in the packaging, automotive, and the electrical and electronics sectors.

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