PureCycle has shipped a commercial batch of ultra-pure recycled (UPR) resin to Milliken from its Ironton facility in Ohio, United States. The US-based additive specialist will now trial what the companies are calling ‘the industry’s first fully sustainable concentrate for polypropylene (PP)’.
Milliken has created an odourless additive specifically for PureCycle's rPP to improve transparency, called Millad NX 8000 Eco. The partnership was first announced at last year’s K Show in Germany. Virgin and fully recycled products alike are usually stabilised with traditional additive packages built with fossil-based PP, leaving the final consumer product blend with less than 100% recycled polyolefin content. The Milliken-designed concentrate will ‘allow consumers to be confident that their products can be made with 100% recycled polyolefins’, PureCycle said in a statement.
Millad NX 8000 ECO ensures crystal-clear, glass-like clarity, as well faster production rates and average energy savings of 10%. During the melt phase, the clarifier dissolves in the molten polypropylene and, upon cooling, precipitates from the melt to form a fibrous network, the surface of which becomes the nucleation site for the PP. This surface produces a very high nucleation density and forms tiny crystallites that are too small to scatter light. The fibres themselves are also too small to scatter light, Milliken explains on its website.
Conventional clarifying agents, on the other hand, require a minimum temperature of around 220 C in order to dissolve in PP. At this temperature, the fibre network does not form properly, which prevents high transparency. Millad NX 8000 has improved solubility properties in PP, enabling processing at lower temperatures. This creates a wider, more robust processing window and significantly improves the clarity of the polypropylene.
“As the world continues to seek more recycled content in their products and packaging, this concentrate will allow businesses to deliver fully circular solutions to their consumers,” said PureCycle CEO Dustin Olson. “Our technical partnership with Milliken will help make that happen. We continue to work in lockstep with their team, and I look forward to growing this consumer solution with them.”
UPR pellets are made from post-industrial recycled material, reclaimed consumer packaging, and many other discarded products traditionally destined for a landfill, such as fibre found in carpet fibres, the film found in food packaging and liners, and flake found in stadium and event trash. PureCycle holds a global license for the patented solvent-driven purification recycling technology developed by The Procter & Gamble (P&G) Company, in which the waste polypropylene is dissolved into the solvent and then processed to remove colours, odours and other impurities.
“We understand all of the hard work that’s been put into the facility in Ironton, and it is incredibly exciting to have a shipment of UPR resin on the way,” said Wim Van de Velde, global vice president of plastics additives for Milliken. “We know that this concentrate will enable the production of 100% recycled content consumer goods. It makes using recycled polypropylene an attractive, no-compromise option as it can be used in various applications and provides them the same high quality as virgin PP and has crystal clear clarity.”
This January, PureCycle announced it chose the port of Antwerp-Bruges as the location for its first PP recycling facility in Europe. Back in 2021, the company signed a major offtake agreement for its chemically recycled resin with Berry.