Techlan won the 2015 Composites UK Environmental/Sustainability Award for its technology which cleans contaminated silicone release paper recycling it for re-use. We spoke to company director, Mark Thompson, for an update.
Please give a brief overview of Techlan and the products and services you offer?
Techlan makes a significant contribution to sustainability through the re-use of waste paper that is difficult to dispose of and to the circular economy by giving a second or third life to a material that was previously treated as waste. We have developed an innovative process to remove resin contaminant from release paper used as a carrier in the manufacture of composites. Composite manufacturers use the paper only once and treat it as waste. Its subsequent disposal, through landfill or incineration, is expensive and environmentally unfriendly – and this approach is increasingly unacceptable and costly.
We clean the release paper and converts it to customer length/width specification for re-supply and use in a range of alternative manufacturing processes so giving it a second life. It is a suitable high quality replacement for virgin release paper but at a considerably lower cost. A further development of the process involves the re-introduction of the cleaned paper back into the composite manufacturing process. This will result in major raw material cost savings for the manufacturer.
Which of the benefits of Composites UK membership does your company regularly use?
The main benefits are derived from intelligence on the market and attendance at events.
On the supply side, membership gave us access to manufacturers, via the Hub competency database and event networking, whose options for the safe disposal of waste silicon release paper are becoming more costly. Disposal to third party traders lack proper control and are fraught with financial risk and reputational damage for the manufacturer. Allied to this is the commitment being made to sustainability and seeking to achieve zero waste.
On the demand side, membership enables us to communicate the message to users of composites and release liners through newsletter articles and social media support. We now have a low cost option to substitute expensive virgin paper with a high quality recycled alternative. This expands the customer base for our recycled paper. The more demand it can generate then the greater volume of waste we can feed into the recycling process.
Have you gained extra business by being a member of Composites UK?
We were invited to make a presentation at “The Circular Economy in the Composites Industry” event on 16th June 2016 at ELG Carbon Fibre, West Midlands. We presented our process, how it had been successfully adopted by a number of manufacturers to recycle waste and a description of the markets that the recycled paper had been sold into.
As a direct result of that presentation we secured two new sources of supply and two new customers, one of whom was the host of the session, ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd.
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