Traditionally, the 3-5% of flushing waste generated during color or product changes in Sika's adhesive and sealant production is incinerated. However, driven by the vision of a more sustainable future, Sika challenged universities to develop innovative solutions for recycling uncured polyurethane waste.
Within the framework of the Innovation Booster initiative “Plastics for Zero Emission”, funded by the Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse, the expert jury awarded the project "ContiSolvPUR” of the School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg (Prof. Roger Marti, Prof. Hans-Ulrich Siegenthaler, Nick Zahnd) with seed funding. This joint project, supported by Sika's experts Marc Balmer, Senior Scientist, and Sven Reimann, Head of Technology Elastic Adhesives, aims to find sustainable solutions for the disposal of waste generated during adhesive and sealant production.
Over the past three months, Nick Zahnd has been dedicated to exploring
concepts for the chemical recycling of uncured PUR waste. The primary objective was to depolymerize the polymer matrix and efficiently separate it from the fillers present in the waste. The project's ultimate goal is to recover and
maintain the valuable components in a reusable form suitable for producing new sealants and adhesives.
The collaborative effort has yielded first promising results, paving the way for a more sustainable approach to polyurethane waste management. The team's findings were recently presented to a broader audience at Sika, where the innovative solutions received acclaim and recognition for their potential impact on reducing waste and conserving resources.
"Sustainability is a core value at Sika, and we are committed to continuously improving our processes to minimize environmental impact. The collaboration with the School of Engineering and Architecture at Fribourg has been invaluable in trying innovative solutions for recycling uncured polyurethane waste. We are excited about this research's possibilities for the industry and our commitment to a circular economy." Marc Balmer, Senior Scientist at Sika
The joint effort project demonstrates the potential for cross-sector collaborations to revolutionize waste management practices and promote a more sustainable future.