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RecyClass publishes sorting protocol for plastic packaging

Destined to any company that would like to analyse the sortability of its innovative packaging, in line with design for recycling principles.

Recyclability must be verified at every step of a recycling process and assessing plastic packaging’s sortability plays an important role in claiming whether and to what extent a product is recyclable. Following the definition of recyclability, a plastic product can be considered recyclable not only if it is collected, recycled in a commercially available process, used in the manufacture of new products but also when it is sorted into an aggregated stream.

“A holistic approach to recyclability is necessary if we are to make it happen in Europe by 2030”, said Vincent Mooij, Director at SUEZ.circpack®. Martine Brandsma, Director of NTCP added: “The ‘Sorting Protocol for Plastic Packaging’ complements the Recyclability Evaluation Protocols”, she continued “Sharing and implementing best practices and standards in the collection and sorting as well as harmonising them across Europe must follow now if we are to move the needle on design for recycling further.”

With that purpose in mind, RecyClass developed together with SUEZ.circpack® and NTCP a standardised protocol that evaluates at an industrial scale sorting behaviour of plastic packaging for the following recycling streams: PE flexibles, PP flexibles, PET bottles, PET trays, PP rigids, HDPE rigids, PS rigids. It aims to recognize any design issues that may prevent the detectability of a specific product leading to it ending up in a different stream due to, for example, a large label or a sleeve which are made of a different polymer than the main body of the product. What makes the ‘RecyClass Sorting Protocol for Plastic Packaging’ document comprehensive, is that it includes all the steps involved in the collection, transportation, and sorting, starting with the packaging waste compaction and ending with the Near-Infrared detection step. This all-inclusive approach is indispensable in evaluating properly the sorting behaviour of packaging.

The Sorting Protocol provides a testing methodology with detailed procedures and sampling methods. To assess the feasibility and operational aspects of the protocol trials were carried out at Suez sorting lines and NTCP Test Centre.

Any company interested in a third-party analysis of the sortability of its innovative packaging to identify possible sorting issues, can contact RecyClass to receive more details about the process.

Furthermore, RecyClass is looking forward to collaborate with other sorting centres from across Europe. Any interested organization can apply to become an accredited sorting facility.

Sorting Evaluation Protocol for Plastic Packaging

Is the circular economy transition fast enough?

Despite the growing attention in the public, among legislators and companies, the shift to business models that design waste out of the system seems to progress slowly.

“So far, growing stakeholder and regulatory pressures such as the EU Circular Economy Action Plan adopted in March 2020 do not seem to have impacted the transition speed significantly,” says Luca Crisciotti, CEO in Supply Chain & Product Assurance in DNV. “With only 5.9% of the companies indicating a leading approach coupled with the limited uptake of business model innovation, there is much left to be done before we reach a state of true circular economy required to shift from a linear take-make-waste industrial model to significantly impact our UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

The ViewPoint Survey “Circular Economy. How are companies transitioning” shows that companies focus more on process and product innovation, such as resource recovery (30.3%) or product life extension (39.6%).  Fewer have moved into more advanced business models innovations such as product as a service (17.6%) and sharing platforms (12.5%).  Most companies experience cost savings (57.2%) as a main benefit, which is not surprising given the focus on existing processes and products.

“While the private sector’s commitment to circularity is clear, external communications for their efforts are inconsistent in scope and barometer used. As investors, customers and regulators increasingly request information on circular performance, those companies equipped to measure, monitor and improve their circularity stand to capture the most value and showcase their true leadership,” says Brendan Edgerton, Circular Economy Director WBCSD.

The fact that only 24.7% determine initial level (baseline) of circularity before implementing initiatives, while 26.7% set specific goals and targets and 19.8% have identified performance indicators poses a significant barrier to progress. Identifying the successful initiatives to scale and communicating transparently on performance becomes infinitely harder without proper metrics. This is not aided by a total of 65.6% using their own circular measurement framework rather benchmarked frameworks designed by established organisations like the WBCSD and Ellen McArthur Foundation.

“Customers and consumers increasingly require sustainability claims and performance to be well-founded and transparent. Results seem to indicate that performance communication and digital solution application is limited. Here we see is a huge potential to take advantage of existing solutions, building necessary stakeholder and consumer engagement and trust by combining verified metrics with blockchain-enabled track and trace applications,” says Luca Crisciotti, CEO in Supply Chain & Product Assurance in DNV.

Full survey results

Is the circular economy transition fast enough?

Despite the growing attention in the public, among legislators and companies, the shift to business models that design waste out of the system seems to progress slowly.

“So far, growing stakeholder and regulatory pressures such as the EU Circular Economy Action Plan adopted in March 2020 do not seem to have impacted the transition speed significantly,” says Luca Crisciotti, CEO in Supply Chain & Product Assurance in DNV. “With only 5.9% of the companies indicating a leading approach coupled with the limited uptake of business model innovation, there is much left to be done before we reach a state of true circular economy required to shift from a linear take-make-waste industrial model to significantly impact our UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

The ViewPoint Survey “Circular Economy. How are companies transitioning” shows that companies focus more on process and product innovation, such as resource recovery (30.3%) or product life extension (39.6%).  Fewer have moved into more advanced business models innovations such as product as a service (17.6%) and sharing platforms (12.5%).  Most companies experience cost savings (57.2%) as a main benefit, which is not surprising given the focus on existing processes and products.

“While the private sector’s commitment to circularity is clear, external communications for their efforts are inconsistent in scope and barometer used. As investors, customers and regulators increasingly request information on circular performance, those companies equipped to measure, monitor and improve their circularity stand to capture the most value and showcase their true leadership,” says Brendan Edgerton, Circular Economy Director WBCSD.

The fact that only 24.7% determine initial level (baseline) of circularity before implementing initiatives, while 26.7% set specific goals and targets and 19.8% have identified performance indicators poses a significant barrier to progress. Identifying the successful initiatives to scale and communicating transparently on performance becomes infinitely harder without proper metrics. This is not aided by a total of 65.6% using their own circular measurement framework rather benchmarked frameworks designed by established organisations like the WBCSD and Ellen McArthur Foundation.

“Customers and consumers increasingly require sustainability claims and performance to be well-founded and transparent. Results seem to indicate that performance communication and digital solution application is limited. Here we see is a huge potential to take advantage of existing solutions, building necessary stakeholder and consumer engagement and trust by combining verified metrics with blockchain-enabled track and trace applications,” says Luca Crisciotti, CEO in Supply Chain & Product Assurance in DNV.

Full survey results

Is the circular economy transition fast enough?

Despite the growing attention in the public, among legislators and companies, the shift to business models that design waste out of the system seems to progress slowly.

“So far, growing stakeholder and regulatory pressures such as the EU Circular Economy Action Plan adopted in March 2020 do not seem to have impacted the transition speed significantly,” says Luca Crisciotti, CEO in Supply Chain & Product Assurance in DNV. “With only 5.9% of the companies indicating a leading approach coupled with the limited uptake of business model innovation, there is much left to be done before we reach a state of true circular economy required to shift from a linear take-make-waste industrial model to significantly impact our UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

The ViewPoint Survey “Circular Economy. How are companies transitioning” shows that companies focus more on process and product innovation, such as resource recovery (30.3%) or product life extension (39.6%).  Fewer have moved into more advanced business models innovations such as product as a service (17.6%) and sharing platforms (12.5%).  Most companies experience cost savings (57.2%) as a main benefit, which is not surprising given the focus on existing processes and products.

“While the private sector’s commitment to circularity is clear, external communications for their efforts are inconsistent in scope and barometer used. As investors, customers and regulators increasingly request information on circular performance, those companies equipped to measure, monitor and improve their circularity stand to capture the most value and showcase their true leadership,” says Brendan Edgerton, Circular Economy Director WBCSD.

The fact that only 24.7% determine initial level (baseline) of circularity before implementing initiatives, while 26.7% set specific goals and targets and 19.8% have identified performance indicators poses a significant barrier to progress. Identifying the successful initiatives to scale and communicating transparently on performance becomes infinitely harder without proper metrics. This is not aided by a total of 65.6% using their own circular measurement framework rather benchmarked frameworks designed by established organisations like the WBCSD and Ellen McArthur Foundation.

“Customers and consumers increasingly require sustainability claims and performance to be well-founded and transparent. Results seem to indicate that performance communication and digital solution application is limited. Here we see is a huge potential to take advantage of existing solutions, building necessary stakeholder and consumer engagement and trust by combining verified metrics with blockchain-enabled track and trace applications,” says Luca Crisciotti, CEO in Supply Chain & Product Assurance in DNV.

Full survey results

Is the circular economy transition fast enough?

Despite the growing attention in the public, among legislators and companies, the shift to business models that design waste out of the system seems to progress slowly.

“So far, growing stakeholder and regulatory pressures such as the EU Circular Economy Action Plan adopted in March 2020 do not seem to have impacted the transition speed significantly,” says Luca Crisciotti, CEO in Supply Chain & Product Assurance in DNV. “With only 5.9% of the companies indicating a leading approach coupled with the limited uptake of business model innovation, there is much left to be done before we reach a state of true circular economy required to shift from a linear take-make-waste industrial model to significantly impact our UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

The ViewPoint Survey “Circular Economy. How are companies transitioning” shows that companies focus more on process and product innovation, such as resource recovery (30.3%) or product life extension (39.6%).  Fewer have moved into more advanced business models innovations such as product as a service (17.6%) and sharing platforms (12.5%).  Most companies experience cost savings (57.2%) as a main benefit, which is not surprising given the focus on existing processes and products.

“While the private sector’s commitment to circularity is clear, external communications for their efforts are inconsistent in scope and barometer used. As investors, customers and regulators increasingly request information on circular performance, those companies equipped to measure, monitor and improve their circularity stand to capture the most value and showcase their true leadership,” says Brendan Edgerton, Circular Economy Director WBCSD.

The fact that only 24.7% determine initial level (baseline) of circularity before implementing initiatives, while 26.7% set specific goals and targets and 19.8% have identified performance indicators poses a significant barrier to progress. Identifying the successful initiatives to scale and communicating transparently on performance becomes infinitely harder without proper metrics. This is not aided by a total of 65.6% using their own circular measurement framework rather benchmarked frameworks designed by established organisations like the WBCSD and Ellen McArthur Foundation.

“Customers and consumers increasingly require sustainability claims and performance to be well-founded and transparent. Results seem to indicate that performance communication and digital solution application is limited. Here we see is a huge potential to take advantage of existing solutions, building necessary stakeholder and consumer engagement and trust by combining verified metrics with blockchain-enabled track and trace applications,” says Luca Crisciotti, CEO in Supply Chain & Product Assurance in DNV.

Full survey results

Recovered Carbon Black emerging in the rubber industry

This article deals with the question of whether the scientific recommendations for the development of new modification methods for upgrading recovered Carbon Black (rCB) derived from end-of-life tire (ELT) pyrolysis have not already been (partially) overtaken by industrial practice. This question does not mean that the extensive research on rCB is unnecessary. Quite the contrary! Past and new research results were and are of priceless value for the development of new ASTM approved characterization methods to be able to predict rCB performance in rubber applications in a practical and science-based manner.

A current scientific paper (just one example of many) published by Jiaxue Yu and colleagues (2019) stresses the “immediate significance” for the further development of modified rCB (ash purified and structure modified). These recommendations are undoubtedly valuable for special applications, for example as a replacement for the virgin CB as colour pigments, as energy storage material in batteries or as super capacitators (etc.). However, since the primary application is as (semi-) reinforcing agent in tires and other rubber products, such cost-intensive and complex modification methods appear neither objectively necessary nor economically viable.

The sustainable rCB has already made the leap into industrial practice and is making an important contribution to closing the loop in the tire and rubber industry. The essential prerequisites are good and consistent product quality, constant production quantities from several thousand tons per year (the more the better), as well as an adequate business strategy.

The rCB produced anyway must always meet the ASTM D8178 definition and must be free of steel wire and fabrics, intensive milled (to eliminate the hard agglomerates) and pelletized, and properly packed, stored and transported.

Need for new classification standards for rCB

The latest opinion which emerged from the Recovered Carbon Black Congress held in Berlin (May 2019) defines rCB as a new material rather then being a 1 to 1 substitute to virgin Carbon Black. That is undoubtedly correct, as rCB is a heterogeneous material, regarding not only the ash content, particle size, morphology and both surface chemistry and activity and the fact that rCB is a mixture of more than one grade of virgin CB. Besides, the presence of a variety of organic and inorganic additives also exacerbates the complexity of the pyrolysis process by producing new substances that didn’t exist in the rubber pyrolysis products. [YU et.al.; 2019]

Recovered Carbon Black is a complex mixture consisting of carbonaceous deposits and oils absorbed during the pyrolysis process, together with various organic and inorganic additives. [YU et.al.; 2019] Carbonaceous deposit, resulting from secondary reaction during the pyrolysis process, is probably the most unwanted characteristic as it covers the surface (char layers), leads to much rougher particle sizes and limits the performance of rCB to a certain degree. (In our next article, we will deal in detail with how this disadvantage can be almost eliminated through reactor design and process parameters.)

In general, the quality and yield of rCB depends on the tire composition as well as pyrolysis conditions.

Already considered superficially, it becomes clear that rCB is a new and very valuable nano-material that cannot only be characterized with traditional definitions and standards for virgin CB.

It is therefore most welcome that an ASTM commission (D36) is making intensive efforts to develop adequate standardization methods for the resource-saving and environmentally friendly rCB.

Industrial practice continues to advance in favour of rCB

Although there is still a lot of discussion on the research side about the differences between rCB and virgin CB, which is a positive and sensible process, the rubber and Carbon Black industry now seems to be increasingly relying on the advantages of using rCB.

Recent tests and scientific findings have shown that in carefully blending rCB with virgin CB, the same performance properties can be achieved.

MAKROchem, a specialist in CB based in Poland, has been researching rCB/CB blends and their performance in rubber compounds over the last three years while testing more than 30 rCB products available in the market. Mainly rubber compounds based on SBR and BR were analysed, establishing differences in the kinetics of vulcanization between rCB and N550 (attributed to the presence of mineral and organic inclusions). Nevertheless, in rCB/CB blends those differences are eliminated. During joint research conducted with its customers, MAKROchem learned that 10-20% blends of rCB/CB may be used in most rubber applications, while following a special industrial blending procedure. For specific applications, rCB content could be even increased to 30% or more.

A recently published study goes into even more detail and examines the effect of rCB from ELTs on the properties of styrene-butadiene rubber compounds (SBR). In this work, a commercially very successful rCB (ET black) was compared with N660 carbon black in SBR using ASTM testing and material recipes.

This extensive study shows that rCB (ET black) can replace 20% in N660 without much influence for SBR compounds (e.g.) in terms of tensile strength and tear strength.

Weibold Consulting

Recovered Carbon Black emerging in the rubber industry

This article deals with the question of whether the scientific recommendations for the development of new modification methods for upgrading recovered Carbon Black (rCB) derived from end-of-life tire (ELT) pyrolysis have not already been (partially) overtaken by industrial practice. This question does not mean that the extensive research on rCB is unnecessary. Quite the contrary! Past and new research results were and are of priceless value for the development of new ASTM approved characterization methods to be able to predict rCB performance in rubber applications in a practical and science-based manner.

A current scientific paper (just one example of many) published by Jiaxue Yu and colleagues (2019) stresses the “immediate significance” for the further development of modified rCB (ash purified and structure modified). These recommendations are undoubtedly valuable for special applications, for example as a replacement for the virgin CB as colour pigments, as energy storage material in batteries or as super capacitators (etc.). However, since the primary application is as (semi-) reinforcing agent in tires and other rubber products, such cost-intensive and complex modification methods appear neither objectively necessary nor economically viable.

The sustainable rCB has already made the leap into industrial practice and is making an important contribution to closing the loop in the tire and rubber industry. The essential prerequisites are good and consistent product quality, constant production quantities from several thousand tons per year (the more the better), as well as an adequate business strategy.

The rCB produced anyway must always meet the ASTM D8178 definition and must be free of steel wire and fabrics, intensive milled (to eliminate the hard agglomerates) and pelletized, and properly packed, stored and transported.

Need for new classification standards for rCB

The latest opinion which emerged from the Recovered Carbon Black Congress held in Berlin (May 2019) defines rCB as a new material rather then being a 1 to 1 substitute to virgin Carbon Black. That is undoubtedly correct, as rCB is a heterogeneous material, regarding not only the ash content, particle size, morphology and both surface chemistry and activity and the fact that rCB is a mixture of more than one grade of virgin CB. Besides, the presence of a variety of organic and inorganic additives also exacerbates the complexity of the pyrolysis process by producing new substances that didn’t exist in the rubber pyrolysis products. [YU et.al.; 2019]

Recovered Carbon Black is a complex mixture consisting of carbonaceous deposits and oils absorbed during the pyrolysis process, together with various organic and inorganic additives. [YU et.al.; 2019] Carbonaceous deposit, resulting from secondary reaction during the pyrolysis process, is probably the most unwanted characteristic as it covers the surface (char layers), leads to much rougher particle sizes and limits the performance of rCB to a certain degree. (In our next article, we will deal in detail with how this disadvantage can be almost eliminated through reactor design and process parameters.)

In general, the quality and yield of rCB depends on the tire composition as well as pyrolysis conditions.

Already considered superficially, it becomes clear that rCB is a new and very valuable nano-material that cannot only be characterized with traditional definitions and standards for virgin CB.

It is therefore most welcome that an ASTM commission (D36) is making intensive efforts to develop adequate standardization methods for the resource-saving and environmentally friendly rCB.

Industrial practice continues to advance in favour of rCB

Although there is still a lot of discussion on the research side about the differences between rCB and virgin CB, which is a positive and sensible process, the rubber and Carbon Black industry now seems to be increasingly relying on the advantages of using rCB.

Recent tests and scientific findings have shown that in carefully blending rCB with virgin CB, the same performance properties can be achieved.

MAKROchem, a specialist in CB based in Poland, has been researching rCB/CB blends and their performance in rubber compounds over the last three years while testing more than 30 rCB products available in the market. Mainly rubber compounds based on SBR and BR were analysed, establishing differences in the kinetics of vulcanization between rCB and N550 (attributed to the presence of mineral and organic inclusions). Nevertheless, in rCB/CB blends those differences are eliminated. During joint research conducted with its customers, MAKROchem learned that 10-20% blends of rCB/CB may be used in most rubber applications, while following a special industrial blending procedure. For specific applications, rCB content could be even increased to 30% or more.

A recently published study goes into even more detail and examines the effect of rCB from ELTs on the properties of styrene-butadiene rubber compounds (SBR). In this work, a commercially very successful rCB (ET black) was compared with N660 carbon black in SBR using ASTM testing and material recipes.

This extensive study shows that rCB (ET black) can replace 20% in N660 without much influence for SBR compounds (e.g.) in terms of tensile strength and tear strength.

Weibold Consulting

Recovered Carbon Black emerging in the rubber industry

This article deals with the question of whether the scientific recommendations for the development of new modification methods for upgrading recovered Carbon Black (rCB) derived from end-of-life tire (ELT) pyrolysis have not already been (partially) overtaken by industrial practice. This question does not mean that the extensive research on rCB is unnecessary. Quite the contrary! Past and new research results were and are of priceless value for the development of new ASTM approved characterization methods to be able to predict rCB performance in rubber applications in a practical and science-based manner.

A current scientific paper (just one example of many) published by Jiaxue Yu and colleagues (2019) stresses the “immediate significance” for the further development of modified rCB (ash purified and structure modified). These recommendations are undoubtedly valuable for special applications, for example as a replacement for the virgin CB as colour pigments, as energy storage material in batteries or as super capacitators (etc.). However, since the primary application is as (semi-) reinforcing agent in tires and other rubber products, such cost-intensive and complex modification methods appear neither objectively necessary nor economically viable.

The sustainable rCB has already made the leap into industrial practice and is making an important contribution to closing the loop in the tire and rubber industry. The essential prerequisites are good and consistent product quality, constant production quantities from several thousand tons per year (the more the better), as well as an adequate business strategy.

The rCB produced anyway must always meet the ASTM D8178 definition and must be free of steel wire and fabrics, intensive milled (to eliminate the hard agglomerates) and pelletized, and properly packed, stored and transported.

Need for new classification standards for rCB

The latest opinion which emerged from the Recovered Carbon Black Congress held in Berlin (May 2019) defines rCB as a new material rather then being a 1 to 1 substitute to virgin Carbon Black. That is undoubtedly correct, as rCB is a heterogeneous material, regarding not only the ash content, particle size, morphology and both surface chemistry and activity and the fact that rCB is a mixture of more than one grade of virgin CB. Besides, the presence of a variety of organic and inorganic additives also exacerbates the complexity of the pyrolysis process by producing new substances that didn’t exist in the rubber pyrolysis products. [YU et.al.; 2019]

Recovered Carbon Black is a complex mixture consisting of carbonaceous deposits and oils absorbed during the pyrolysis process, together with various organic and inorganic additives. [YU et.al.; 2019] Carbonaceous deposit, resulting from secondary reaction during the pyrolysis process, is probably the most unwanted characteristic as it covers the surface (char layers), leads to much rougher particle sizes and limits the performance of rCB to a certain degree. (In our next article, we will deal in detail with how this disadvantage can be almost eliminated through reactor design and process parameters.)

In general, the quality and yield of rCB depends on the tire composition as well as pyrolysis conditions.

Already considered superficially, it becomes clear that rCB is a new and very valuable nano-material that cannot only be characterized with traditional definitions and standards for virgin CB.

It is therefore most welcome that an ASTM commission (D36) is making intensive efforts to develop adequate standardization methods for the resource-saving and environmentally friendly rCB.

Industrial practice continues to advance in favour of rCB

Although there is still a lot of discussion on the research side about the differences between rCB and virgin CB, which is a positive and sensible process, the rubber and Carbon Black industry now seems to be increasingly relying on the advantages of using rCB.

Recent tests and scientific findings have shown that in carefully blending rCB with virgin CB, the same performance properties can be achieved.

MAKROchem, a specialist in CB based in Poland, has been researching rCB/CB blends and their performance in rubber compounds over the last three years while testing more than 30 rCB products available in the market. Mainly rubber compounds based on SBR and BR were analysed, establishing differences in the kinetics of vulcanization between rCB and N550 (attributed to the presence of mineral and organic inclusions). Nevertheless, in rCB/CB blends those differences are eliminated. During joint research conducted with its customers, MAKROchem learned that 10-20% blends of rCB/CB may be used in most rubber applications, while following a special industrial blending procedure. For specific applications, rCB content could be even increased to 30% or more.

A recently published study goes into even more detail and examines the effect of rCB from ELTs on the properties of styrene-butadiene rubber compounds (SBR). In this work, a commercially very successful rCB (ET black) was compared with N660 carbon black in SBR using ASTM testing and material recipes.

This extensive study shows that rCB (ET black) can replace 20% in N660 without much influence for SBR compounds (e.g.) in terms of tensile strength and tear strength.

Weibold Consulting

Recovered Carbon Black emerging in the rubber industry

This article deals with the question of whether the scientific recommendations for the development of new modification methods for upgrading recovered Carbon Black (rCB) derived from end-of-life tire (ELT) pyrolysis have not already been (partially) overtaken by industrial practice. This question does not mean that the extensive research on rCB is unnecessary. Quite the contrary! Past and new research results were and are of priceless value for the development of new ASTM approved characterization methods to be able to predict rCB performance in rubber applications in a practical and science-based manner.

A current scientific paper (just one example of many) published by Jiaxue Yu and colleagues (2019) stresses the “immediate significance” for the further development of modified rCB (ash purified and structure modified). These recommendations are undoubtedly valuable for special applications, for example as a replacement for the virgin CB as colour pigments, as energy storage material in batteries or as super capacitators (etc.). However, since the primary application is as (semi-) reinforcing agent in tires and other rubber products, such cost-intensive and complex modification methods appear neither objectively necessary nor economically viable.

The sustainable rCB has already made the leap into industrial practice and is making an important contribution to closing the loop in the tire and rubber industry. The essential prerequisites are good and consistent product quality, constant production quantities from several thousand tons per year (the more the better), as well as an adequate business strategy.

The rCB produced anyway must always meet the ASTM D8178 definition and must be free of steel wire and fabrics, intensive milled (to eliminate the hard agglomerates) and pelletized, and properly packed, stored and transported.

Need for new classification standards for rCB

The latest opinion which emerged from the Recovered Carbon Black Congress held in Berlin (May 2019) defines rCB as a new material rather then being a 1 to 1 substitute to virgin Carbon Black. That is undoubtedly correct, as rCB is a heterogeneous material, regarding not only the ash content, particle size, morphology and both surface chemistry and activity and the fact that rCB is a mixture of more than one grade of virgin CB. Besides, the presence of a variety of organic and inorganic additives also exacerbates the complexity of the pyrolysis process by producing new substances that didn’t exist in the rubber pyrolysis products. [YU et.al.; 2019]

Recovered Carbon Black is a complex mixture consisting of carbonaceous deposits and oils absorbed during the pyrolysis process, together with various organic and inorganic additives. [YU et.al.; 2019] Carbonaceous deposit, resulting from secondary reaction during the pyrolysis process, is probably the most unwanted characteristic as it covers the surface (char layers), leads to much rougher particle sizes and limits the performance of rCB to a certain degree. (In our next article, we will deal in detail with how this disadvantage can be almost eliminated through reactor design and process parameters.)

In general, the quality and yield of rCB depends on the tire composition as well as pyrolysis conditions.

Already considered superficially, it becomes clear that rCB is a new and very valuable nano-material that cannot only be characterized with traditional definitions and standards for virgin CB.

It is therefore most welcome that an ASTM commission (D36) is making intensive efforts to develop adequate standardization methods for the resource-saving and environmentally friendly rCB.

Industrial practice continues to advance in favour of rCB

Although there is still a lot of discussion on the research side about the differences between rCB and virgin CB, which is a positive and sensible process, the rubber and Carbon Black industry now seems to be increasingly relying on the advantages of using rCB.

Recent tests and scientific findings have shown that in carefully blending rCB with virgin CB, the same performance properties can be achieved.

MAKROchem, a specialist in CB based in Poland, has been researching rCB/CB blends and their performance in rubber compounds over the last three years while testing more than 30 rCB products available in the market. Mainly rubber compounds based on SBR and BR were analysed, establishing differences in the kinetics of vulcanization between rCB and N550 (attributed to the presence of mineral and organic inclusions). Nevertheless, in rCB/CB blends those differences are eliminated. During joint research conducted with its customers, MAKROchem learned that 10-20% blends of rCB/CB may be used in most rubber applications, while following a special industrial blending procedure. For specific applications, rCB content could be even increased to 30% or more.

A recently published study goes into even more detail and examines the effect of rCB from ELTs on the properties of styrene-butadiene rubber compounds (SBR). In this work, a commercially very successful rCB (ET black) was compared with N660 carbon black in SBR using ASTM testing and material recipes.

This extensive study shows that rCB (ET black) can replace 20% in N660 without much influence for SBR compounds (e.g.) in terms of tensile strength and tear strength.

Weibold Consulting

Recovered Carbon Black emerging in the rubber industry

This article deals with the question of whether the scientific recommendations for the development of new modification methods for upgrading recovered Carbon Black (rCB) derived from end-of-life tire (ELT) pyrolysis have not already been (partially) overtaken by industrial practice. This question does not mean that the extensive research on rCB is unnecessary. Quite the contrary! Past and new research results were and are of priceless value for the development of new ASTM approved characterization methods to be able to predict rCB performance in rubber applications in a practical and science-based manner.

A current scientific paper (just one example of many) published by Jiaxue Yu and colleagues (2019) stresses the “immediate significance” for the further development of modified rCB (ash purified and structure modified). These recommendations are undoubtedly valuable for special applications, for example as a replacement for the virgin CB as colour pigments, as energy storage material in batteries or as super capacitators (etc.). However, since the primary application is as (semi-) reinforcing agent in tires and other rubber products, such cost-intensive and complex modification methods appear neither objectively necessary nor economically viable.

The sustainable rCB has already made the leap into industrial practice and is making an important contribution to closing the loop in the tire and rubber industry. The essential prerequisites are good and consistent product quality, constant production quantities from several thousand tons per year (the more the better), as well as an adequate business strategy.

The rCB produced anyway must always meet the ASTM D8178 definition and must be free of steel wire and fabrics, intensive milled (to eliminate the hard agglomerates) and pelletized, and properly packed, stored and transported.

Need for new classification standards for rCB

The latest opinion which emerged from the Recovered Carbon Black Congress held in Berlin (May 2019) defines rCB as a new material rather then being a 1 to 1 substitute to virgin Carbon Black. That is undoubtedly correct, as rCB is a heterogeneous material, regarding not only the ash content, particle size, morphology and both surface chemistry and activity and the fact that rCB is a mixture of more than one grade of virgin CB. Besides, the presence of a variety of organic and inorganic additives also exacerbates the complexity of the pyrolysis process by producing new substances that didn’t exist in the rubber pyrolysis products. [YU et.al.; 2019]

Recovered Carbon Black is a complex mixture consisting of carbonaceous deposits and oils absorbed during the pyrolysis process, together with various organic and inorganic additives. [YU et.al.; 2019] Carbonaceous deposit, resulting from secondary reaction during the pyrolysis process, is probably the most unwanted characteristic as it covers the surface (char layers), leads to much rougher particle sizes and limits the performance of rCB to a certain degree. (In our next article, we will deal in detail with how this disadvantage can be almost eliminated through reactor design and process parameters.)

In general, the quality and yield of rCB depends on the tire composition as well as pyrolysis conditions.

Already considered superficially, it becomes clear that rCB is a new and very valuable nano-material that cannot only be characterized with traditional definitions and standards for virgin CB.

It is therefore most welcome that an ASTM commission (D36) is making intensive efforts to develop adequate standardization methods for the resource-saving and environmentally friendly rCB.

Industrial practice continues to advance in favour of rCB

Although there is still a lot of discussion on the research side about the differences between rCB and virgin CB, which is a positive and sensible process, the rubber and Carbon Black industry now seems to be increasingly relying on the advantages of using rCB.

Recent tests and scientific findings have shown that in carefully blending rCB with virgin CB, the same performance properties can be achieved.

MAKROchem, a specialist in CB based in Poland, has been researching rCB/CB blends and their performance in rubber compounds over the last three years while testing more than 30 rCB products available in the market. Mainly rubber compounds based on SBR and BR were analysed, establishing differences in the kinetics of vulcanization between rCB and N550 (attributed to the presence of mineral and organic inclusions). Nevertheless, in rCB/CB blends those differences are eliminated. During joint research conducted with its customers, MAKROchem learned that 10-20% blends of rCB/CB may be used in most rubber applications, while following a special industrial blending procedure. For specific applications, rCB content could be even increased to 30% or more.

A recently published study goes into even more detail and examines the effect of rCB from ELTs on the properties of styrene-butadiene rubber compounds (SBR). In this work, a commercially very successful rCB (ET black) was compared with N660 carbon black in SBR using ASTM testing and material recipes.

This extensive study shows that rCB (ET black) can replace 20% in N660 without much influence for SBR compounds (e.g.) in terms of tensile strength and tear strength.

Weibold Consulting