While growing steadily, Bioplastics currently account for a marginal share of the global plastic production. Despite the emergence of small PLA post-consumer streams, field experience reveals the difficulties to properly identify recycling channels and shows the challenges to connect streams and potential recycling units.
Mid-2000’s, Galactic, a leading actor of the green chemistry, started the first PLA recycling projects in Belgium. Partnering with international key stakeholders, the company was able to build an extensive know-how while acquiring a concrete market experience over the last few years. But to allow further industrial development, Galactic decided end of 2012 to transfer its PLA recycling projects to third parties.
The mechanical recycling department has been acquired in 2013 by Devetex, a company active since 1995 in the recycling of off-spec material issued from the textile industry (namely PA66 and PP). As post-consumer streams grew, a dedicated line was also installed in 2005 to handle soiled carpet waste. All know-how and experience acquired by Galactic and Devetex are now combined in one company, LoopLife Polymers, located in Hulshout (Belgium).
LoopLife Polymers intends to support market demand for rPLA by proposing a tangible industrial recycling solution for various compatible waste streams, either post-industrial or post-consumer. For this purpose, the company continues to develop national and international partnerships and is setting a first demo-plant for PLA post-consumer streams (e.g. PLA cups).