The Time is Right for Recycling Glycols
February 3, 2014
The science, technology and business of glycol production have brought industrial chemical manufacturers to an interesting place. It’s possible to use emerging technology and principles of green chemistry to recycle glycols more cheaply than making them from scratch. And, yes, the environment can benefit, too.
The triple bottom line method of accounting makes it easy to show how the total positive environmental and business impacts of glycol recycling merit a long, hard look by members of the business community.
Glycol Recycling Questions
Why bother to recycle?
What is glycol recycling?
Is it a viable business process?
Is it a sustainable process?
What role does technology have?
Do limiting factors affect output?
Why bother with glycol recycling?Because it’s cost-effective, sustainable and helps address public concerns about human health and environmental safety. Specifically, glycols are worth recycling because:
Inputs are plentiful.
Waste glycol is created by five general types of use: Automotive, HVAC, textile manufacturing, plastics manufacturing and medical uses. Currently a small percentage of used antifreeze is recycled into a Type 2 product. In US alone, more than 700 million gallons of waste glycol are created each year. Only 12 percent of used antifreeze waste is processed and formulated into recycled antifreeze.
Innovative business partnerships help cut recycling costs.
Descriptions of glycol recycling usually focus on treatment steps of the process. But collection and transportation costs also affect the overall recycling cost equation. In 2013, businesses started to create partnerships to gather and transport waste glycols more efficiently.
Flexible, cost-effective treatment technology is available.
In addition to conventional separation and filtration methods, it's now possible to use chemical treatments to reuse glycols from all five major glycol waste streams (of which, antifreeze is only one).
Glycol recycling presents an attractive business opportunity.
Global demand for plastics and polyester fabric is growing. This drives up the price of the glycols used to make these products. As prices for virgin glycols rise, glycol recycling becomes a more cost-effective production option.
Next time: We describe conventional and innovative recycling processes, present the business case for glycol recycling and discuss what makes glycol recycling sustainable.
The future can be cleaner.
At GlyEco, we believe providing information about chemistry-based pollution solutions is good for both the environment and your mind. Our team is dedicated to creating a future with less dirty glycol going to waste. It's a big job... and we are up to the challenge. Using our breakthrough technology, we clean all types of waste glycol, help safeguard the environment and create valuable green products.