Biopolymer Recycling Services
As we enter our sixth decade, Zeus continues to explore new methods to make our products better and find creative ways to enhance the lives of those around us. After expanding our capabilities with the introduction of bioabsorbable products including those based on polylactide (polylactic acid, PLA), we have developed a technology for recycling PLA. The new, low-temperature method of recycling this highly useful biodegradable polymer promises to be significantly more cost-effective and simpler than previously available PLA recycling methods.
PLA Recycling Challenges
PLA was among the first commercially produced bioplastics. Since then, PLA has gained extensive use in areas ranging from tissue engineering, food packaging, drug delivery, to agricultural applications, and its potential uses are growing. PLA is particularly susceptible to thermal degradation using traditional mechanical recycling methods. This constraint significantly limits recovery and reuse of PLA. As an alternative to mechanical recycling, chemical recycling of PLA recovers the building blocks of the polymer. Heretofore chemical recycling been limited by the requirement of higher temperatures and pressurized reaction vessels.
New PLA Recycling Method Now Available
Today, Zeus has created a novel recycling approach using chemical degradation of PLA. This new biopolymer recycling process allows low temperature degradation of PLA into its component monomers. This new recycling method is carried out at significantly lower temperatures than earlier methods and does not require pressurized vessels for chemical conversion. Our new method of chemical depolymerization of PLA results in high percent recovery and is more cost-efficient; it also requires significantly less investment on the part of those choosing chemical recycling over traditional recycling options.