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France: Polymethyl Methacrylate

Consortium to Develop Recycling Process for PMMA Waste

| Editor: Alexander Stark

Arkema's plant of acrylics at Clear Lake in Texas (US)
Arkema's plant of acrylics at Clear Lake in Texas (US) (Source: Arkema)

The recently started MMAtwo project is a European initiative for the recycling of PMMA waste by depolymerization to turn it back into raw material. Arkema will be chairing the project’s executive committee.

Paris/France — This role reflected the group’s desire to promote the recycling of finished products and the circular economy, and was consistent with its commitment in favor of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the company said.

Launched on October 1 this year, the MMAtwo consortium aims to develop a new and innovative recycling process by depolymerization of PMMA waste, and to allow the creation of a first commercial unit soon after the end of the project (2022). 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.

Only 10 % of European PMMA production is currently recycled, and the existing recycling processes tend to focus on post-industrial scraps. However, the main share of PMMA waste stream concerns end-of-life products that are either exported, landfilled, or incinerated.

The French company claims that Altuglas PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate), or acrylic glass, typically is a material that is an ideal fit for the recycling and circularity principle, as its unique feature allows it to be regenerated into its original monomer that can then be reintroduced into the production process for new resins.

The four-year European project comprises 13 partners from six different countries representing all the stages of the PMMA value chain. It is supported by a $ 7.5 million funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program centered on three priorities: scientific excellence, industrial primacy, and societal issues.

MMAtwo is being coordinated by Heathland, a Dutch collector and recycler of PMMA waste, and its executive committee chaired by Arkema (represented by Jean-Luc Dubois, Scientific Director).

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