Exolon Closed-Loop-Recycling

Targeted recycling saves tonnes of CO2 emissions

Tielt, Belgium / Geisenheim, Germany, March 6th, 2024 – The demand for sustainable products in the plastics industry is growing by leaps and bounds. To meet this demand, one of the leading manufacturers of polycarbonate sheet – the Exolon Group – has launched the ‘Closing the loop’ project. Customers of the Exolon Group will have a suitable recycling partner for offcuts and waste material as part of the purchase of new material: Geisenheim-based Pekutherm, which has been implementing a sustainable and established collection and recycling concept for high-quality thermoplastics for years. “We want to make a significant contribution to the recycling economy and continue to expand our own product portfolio with recycled components. With the ECORANGE range of multi-skin and solid sheets, to which we have recently added the rECO and rECOplus sheet types, we are massively reducing our ecological footprint. But we wanted to go one step further: Any of our customers can request collection boxes for used material and offcuts from our partner Pekutherm and use these deliveries to supply the raw material required for our ‘closing the loop’ project,” says Wim Van Eynde, Head of Product Management at the Exolon Group.

Pekutherm has been leading the way in recycling plastics

Years ago, Pekutherm, a company specialising in plastics recycling, developed an independent and manufacturer-independent recycling system for thermoplastics such as acrylic glass (PMMA) and polycarbonate (PC), which is now available as a partner programme for plastics processors. “The material is collected directly from the processor of thermoplastic semi-finished products. We provide the necessary collapsible and space-saving collection containers called Ecoboxes. We collect those with our own logistics, the suppliers are even paid for the quantity. We then sort the contents, process and granulate it at our plant. In this way, we meet the purity requirements for a closed-loop process. We supply the granulate to manufacturers such as the Exolon Group, who can then produce new material with significantly less impact on the environment,” explains Heiko Pfister, Managing Director of Pekutherm. At the Exolon Group, different amounts of recycled material are added depending on the panel material: at least 40 per cent regrind is used in the previous sustainable ECO panel types, while the solid rECO panels consist of 50 to almost 100 per cent pre-consumer waste. Here, for example, offcuts from processors are used to improve the eco-balance of new products.

Recycling seal for partners

The Exolon Group uses recycled material from post-consumer waste for its rECOplus polyester sheets. The sheets contain 25 per cent polyester from products that have reached the end of their life and have been processed into new granules. More and more manufacturers are turning to the high-quality recyclates supplied by Pekutherm. The company has therefore significantly expanded its processing capacity. The unmixed granulate of high-quality thermoplastics such as acrylic glass or polycarbonate is processed into new products of the same quality by manufacturers such as the Exolon Group and others, with significantly less environmental impact and CO2 emissions. This is confirmed by an annual certificate showing the amount used and the CO2 emissions avoided. Partners can also display a recycling seal for the Pekutherm partner programme, demonstrating to the outside world their participation in the initiative to protect the environment. “With our partner programme, we want to enable the industry – manufacturers and processors – to benefit from environmental protection without having to make significant investments in their own collection concepts. And the CO2 savings are immense: for every 100 tonnes of recycled material used, almost 500 tonnes of CO2 can be saved,” explains Heiko Pfister of Pekutherm.

Über Exolon Group:

The Exolon Group is a leading supplier of plastic sheets for a wide range of applications in building & construction, industry, visual communication, LED lighting and medical technology. The medium-sized group has more than 40 years of experience in the extrusion of polycarbonate and polyester thermoplastic sheets. The solid and multiwall sheets are sold to customers around the world under the well-known brand names Exolon®, Axpet®, Vivak®, Inspria® and Exoblend®.
The material is manufactured to consistently high-quality standards at production sites in Belgium and Italy.
The consistently high product quality and innovative spirit are reflected in the performance promise: “Going Beyond”. Professional service expertise and consistent customer orientation make the Exolon Group a reliable partner for industry and trade worldwide.

Exolon offcuts

Offcuts are a valuable raw material for the environmentally friendly production of new panels. © Pekutherm

Pekutherm charging process Ecoboxes

Loading of offcuts and old material for further processing at Pekutherm. © Pekutherm

Pekutherm seal recycling partner program

The seal of the Pekutherm Recycling Partner Program. © Pekutherm

Exolon Closing the Loop

Environmentally friendly materials are produced by the manufacturer Exolon under the name “Closing the Loop”. © Exolon Group

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