In an interview with K-MAG, Dorota Pawlucka talks about the need for such a project, why rigid polyurethane foams are so difficult to recycle, and why she believes a completely closed-loop recycling system is possible.
Ms Pawlucka, what is behind the CIRCULAR FOAM project?
Dorota Pawlucka: The overall aim of the project is to strengthen sustainable business, especially the Circular Economy. We are concerned with developing old materials as an alternative resource. Our focus is on rigid polyurethane foams, which are used for example in refrigerators and freezers or as insulating materials in house construction.
With the help of chemical processes, we want to recover carbon from the foams and use it as a raw material for new materials. In addition to chemical technology, we are also looking at waste streams. This gives us access to the recyclable materials. I want to emphasise, they are recyclables, not waste. They are alternative resources.
To what extent did you see the need for such a project?
Pawlucka: The need is based on three major challenges that our planet is currently facing: climate change, finite resources or fossil raw materials and increasing amounts of waste.
Plastics play a major role in this context. For example, we can save energy with insulation materials, and we can produce and transmit renewable energies thanks to them. These are just two examples of many that show that we cannot imagine life without plastics.