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Recycling PU foam cans more efficiently

Type of organisation or company:

Country: 
Germany

Language for original content:

Scope:

Ongoing: 
Yes
Description: 

PDR is a German company with extensive expertise in recycling materials, which has developed a groundbreaking technique to reuse polyurethane (PU) foam cans. In Germany, about 25 million cans are used each year, and a federal legislature has classified used PU foam cans as polluting waste which must be recycled. However, they cannot be disposed of in landfills or in the standard rubbish bags for recyclable waste.

To fill this gap, PDR has set up a collection system: a logistics team collects the cans from 2500 specific points throughout Germany. The cost of collection services is factored into the purchasing price, so there are no additional costs for collection. Post-collection, the cans are brought to Thurnau-Upper Franconia, where they are recycled, including any leftover content.

From the PU foam cans, the company is able to recover prepolymer, liquified gas and raw materials, specifically polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) plastic granulate, tin plate and aluminium.

Main results: 
  • The material recovery rate of a PU foam can is usually around 80%. These recovered raw materials are returned to the production cycle.
  • With PDR’s recycling techniques, approximately 95% of the collected cans can be recovered.