Panasonic develops new recycling technology for decomposing plastics

10-Apr-08
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., along with Kusatsu Electric Co., Ltd. has developed a recycling technology that can decompose plastic and recycle useful metals used in electronic equipment without causing hazardous gases. Using the catalyst of titanium oxide, the technology facilitates recovery of inorganic substances such as metals by transforming organic substances such as plastics into harmless gases. The new recycling method combines Kusatsu Electric's non- incineration plastic disposal technology using titanium oxide and Panasonic's high grade materials recovery technology that is used to recycle old home appliances, said the company in a news release. The method uses unique mixing and carrier systems that allow plastics to contact the catalyst efficiently for gasification, leaving the valuable metals. As the catalytic reaction of titanium oxide generates heat to promote gasification, an additional heating source is not required in the process, the company said, adding that hydrogen chloride produced during the gasification process of vinyl chloride is neutralized with lime. Today, about 80%, by weight, of all collected home appliances is recycled into metallic and plastic materials. The remaining 20 is currently regarded as non-recyclable waste e.g. rubber, mixed glass and mixed plastic waste which is difficult to sort further as it is comprised of many different types of resins or contains metals. Although some mixed plastic waste can be used as fuel in general, the waste containing certain chemicals such as vinyl chloride needs to be treated in a high-temperature incinerator to avoid dioxin emissions.
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