Designing manufacturing processes that minimize waste is one of the key objectives of a circular and resource efficient economy. DuPont is committed to integrate circular economy principles into its business models.
One way DuPont is helping to enable circular solutions is through the mechanical recycling of Tyvek®, a unique material made from virgin high-density polyethylene (HDPE), widely used in the healthcare packaging industry for nearly 50 years. Mechanical recycling involves the recovery and reprocessing of plastics via mechanical processes and substituting these reused plastics in the place of virgin plastics to save resources and energy.
Consistent with its commitment to implement a 4R (Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle) waste reduction program at its manufacturing sites, DuPont has established an onsite recycling facility alongside its Tyvek® manufacturing lines in Luxembourg. A sophisticated shredder-feeder-extruder combination system is able to process all types of Tyvek® production waste and then pelletize it for reuse. This investment in mechanical recycling makes it easy and efficient to reprocess post-industrial waste back into HDPE granulates for reuse.
To provide tangible circular benefits, the recycled HDPE granulates are then used to produce plastic cores around which Tyvek® can be wound. DuPont is working closely with Sonoco, a global plastic converter with decades of experience, to create these important winding cores. Cores are currently extruded in Sonoco’s facility in Germany and then returned to DuPont’s manufacturing plant in Luxembourg. They are produced from 100% recycled Tyvek® whose quality is controlled under the DuPont quality management system. An additional benefit of these cores are properties such as low particle emission, strength and dimensional stability.
“It is one of our top priorities and responsibilities to supply our customers with high quality products and at the same time have ongoing efforts to achieve greater packaging sustainability and recycling,” explained Bernd Rost, Managing Director of Sonoco Plastics. “Ongoing efforts are being made to improve environmental, governance and social measures. To achieve these measures, we have a very good collaboration established with DuPont to receive the 100% recycled HDPE within the required quality and specifications, which enables us to meet DuPont’s high standards for their winding process.”
Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and DuPont's Sustainability Goals, these efforts between DuPont and Sonoco exemplify how partnerships can enable circular solutions. “DuPont is acting now to enable a low carbon and circular economy, and we are taking action wherever possible to discover new ways to turn unused materials into useful products for a truly circular process. Our mechanical recycling of Tyvek® during the manufacturing process and turning that into usable winding cores is an example of our dedication to these goals through our processes and partners.” concluded John Richard, Vice President and General Manager of DuPont Safety.