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GreenMantra Carves Path to Profitable, Efficient Sustainability

Its additives, made from waste plastics using a proprietary molecular recycling technology, helped one extruder to increase line speeds at the same fixed costs without affecting product quality, durability, or performance.

Geoff Giordano

May 14, 2024

4 Min Read
Extruded blue pipes
Image courtesy of Timewell/GreenMantra

Specialty additives by Canada’s GreenMantra Technologies helped an Illinois high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe manufacturer incorporate a broader range of recycled content and increase production speed by 25% — a success spotlighted at NPE2024 in Orlando.

Timewell Drainage Products, which incorporates post-consumer (PCR) and post-industrial (PIR) waste into its stormwater and agricultural pipes, used GreenMantra’s Ceranovus PN to improve processing. GreenMantra’s additives are made from waste plastic using its patented molecular recycling method.

Additives enable quick response to seasonal spikes.

With GreenMantra’s additives, Timewell can quickly respond to seasonal spikes in demand for agricultural drainage pipes after fall planting and for building and road construction pipes for spring and summer projects simply by calculating the additive dosage required to increase line speed and output.

Timewell’s single-wall corrugated agricultural pipe uses 40% or more PCR and PIR recyclate, while the company’s dual-wall stormwater pipe uses up to 50% post-use content. 

Process problems arose when Timewell initially began incorporating post-use material into its stormwater products, including higher extruder torque and other issues. 

By introducing GreenMantra’s Ceranovus PN sustainable additives, “we were able to increase line speeds at the same fixed costs, including energy cost, while achieving excellent product quality, durability, and performance,” said Timewell COO Jake Colclasure. “Based on these positive results, we also decided to use Ceranovus PN additives in our recycled HDPE agricultural drainage pipe. Our close relationship with GreenMantra, and the company’s proven additive technology, have helped us optimize the production of recycled pipe so we can meet customers’ supply needs and sustainability objectives.”

Related:Chemical Recycling of Plastics Continues to Gain Ground

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Moving ahead with molecular recycling.

GreenMantra launched in 2010 and commercialized its technology in 2016, said Ben Scott, director of research and innovation, during an interview at NPE2024. To produce Ceranovus PN. GreenMantra uses waste polypropylene and polyethylene and its proprietary chemistry to selectively shorten the polymeric chains and produce a low-molecular-weight PE or PP polymer. The result, with about 95% mass recovery, is an industrial wax that enhances process performance.

While other companies mostly focus on producing pyrolysis oil by breaking plastic all the way down to the monomer to produce new plastic, GreenMantra’s primary product is a new polymer that aids processing and reduces formulation cost, Scott explained. 

The ideal loading for extruding recyclate and forming pipe is between 1% and 3%, added Emily Blair, director of sales and business development for GreenMantra. 

“It's dosed in as a specialty additive the way you would dose in a color masterbatch or performance additives. That helps alleviate the variability in the materials that converters are using. We allow customers to better process material that has inherent variability in it, on top of increasing throughput by the mechanics of the additives. Because it acts as a processing aid, you see those gains both on the extrusion line as well as when you form the part.”

Robust supply chain for post-use material.

To ensure steady availability of post-use material, GreenMantra has built a robust supply chain of mechanical recyclers who understand the company’s unique needs, Scott said. When purchasing recycled plastic, GreenMantra isn’t concerned about a resin’s physical specifications, such as stiffness and impact properties, but rather the presence of fillers or cross-contamination from other polymers.

And that, added Blair, is “the beautiful thing about our contribution to circularity. We get to take a broader range of materials that aren't so desired by mechanical recyclers. We strike a nice balance between expanding the feedstocks that can be utilized in addition to maintaining high yields. We need to be able to provide sustainability to the industry — but in a profitable, efficient way.”

Paving and roofing applications.

Beyond extruded pipe, GreenMantra additives are used to create polymer-modified asphalt for paving as well as commercial and residential roofing, particularly in high-performance shingles and underlayment. GreenMantra additives improve high-temperature stability while maintaining low-temperature properties.

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“As you navigate different temperature ranges, asphalt struggles on both ends — brittleness in the cold and tackiness in the heat,” Blair noted. “Polymer modification has really enabled the industry to raise the bar on performance, but working with polymer-modified asphalt has its pain points. We become a viscosity modifier in those formulations and allow companies to be more creative in balancing properties. At the same time, they're able to incorporate more recycled content into these long-lifespan applications.” 

Ultimately, Blair concluded: “Our additive enables not only plastic recovery because it’s made of upcycled waste plastic, but we’re also able to put ground tire rubber into applications in paving and in roofing. We’re unlocking the next step of circularity for the building envelope and infrastructure market.” 

About the Author(s)

Geoff Giordano

Geoff Giordano is a tech journalist with more than 30 years’ experience in all facets of publishing. He has reported extensively on the gamut of plastics manufacturing technologies and issues, including 3D printing materials and methods; injection, blow, micro and rotomolding; additives, colorants and nanomodifiers; blown and cast films; packaging; thermoforming; tooling; ancillary equipment; and the circular economy. Contact him at [email protected].

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