As one of the most advanced plastics recycling facilities in Europe, Axion Polymers operates a complete ‘closed-loop’ recycling service that is able to trace all its 100% recycled products back to the original source material. Successfully recovered and reprocessed, these polymers can be used in a wide range of applications. A fast-growing area of expertise is that of customized compounding, in which the Manchester, UK-based plastics recycler company creates tailor-made recycled polymer grades for customers’ product applications. It is this technical capability in the development of customer-specific compounds that is currently driving expansion, according to Axion Polymers’ Commercial Operations Manager Steve Bell and Product Development Technologist Mark Keenan, who, between them, boast over 40 years’ of polymer compounding experience.
Demand is rising, particularly from the construction, drainage, water and horticultural sectors, for sustainably-sourced and competitively-priced high-grade polymers that can be formulated to match customers’ exact specifications.
Axion’s range of Axpoly high-grade recycled plastics is sourced from their end-of-life vehicle (ELV) recycling facility, the Shredder Waste Advanced Processing Plant (SWAPP) at Trafford Park and refined further at its advanced polymer processing site in Salford.
“More manufacturers are recognizing the value of using recycled polymers that not only can be modified to suit specific requirements, such as adjusting melt flow, impact resistance and tensile strength, but also are genuinely sustainable,” said Mark.
“We are working with a number of new customers, including a building components manufacturer, for whom we have developed polymers with specific characteristics for their respective products. Of course, all customers also benefit from the opportunity to reduce their carbon impact, the cost savings on virgin plastics and reliable, consistent supply.”
A recent example is bio-reactor packing pieces where Axion’s team achieved the precise melt flow rate to rapidly fill a complicated 24-up injection molding tool. Following technical consultations at the customer’s site, custom compounds were developed to suit the process. The polymer underwent extensive tests to ensure the formulation was correct. The initial success led to Axion supplying a further variation to the original polypropylene grade.
The demand for cost-efficient, high-performance recycled plastics is growing across all European markets, as processors and OEMs seek to reduce the environmental footprint of their activities. Moreover, the Circular Economy Package adopted in December of last year, which included revised legislation on waste management and recycling, will also impact the industry’s perception of recycled plastics.
“In the transition to a circular materials economy, it’s clear that manufacturers are recognizing the advantages of using high-quality recycled polymers in new products,” Mark pointed out.
Axion Polymers is part of the Axion Group that develops and operates resource recovery and processing solutions for recycling waste materials. The Group works with a wide range of clients within the recycling and process industries on the practical development of new processing and collection methods.