Collaborating to innovate vinyl recycling for a circular future

Press release

Flexible vinyl is a particularly strong type of material, few other materials are as versatile, durable, reliable and yet as flexible. However, it has been proven difficult to incorporate recycled content in flexible vinyl applications. That's why the DISSOLV project was initiated. This project aims to increase recycled components in flexible vinyl applications by replacing some of its virgin components, such as PVC resin, polyester fibers, fillers, and plasticizers, with recycled materials.

The interregional project will run for 36 months and is a collaborative effort among the Flemish industrial partners Beaulieu International Group (B.I.G.), INEOS Inovyn, SIOEN industries, Empire Carpets and ExxonMobil Chemical Europe, the Walloon industrial partner INEOS Inovyn, and the knowledge partner Centexbel, i.e. a Belgian scientific and technical center for the textile and plastics industry. This multi-partner innovation project is being facilitated by Catalisti, the Flemish spearhead cluster for innovation in the chemical and plastics industry, and supported by VLAIO (Flemish Agency for Innovation & Entrepreneurship) and SPW Recherche. It follows the 'triple helix' model of collaboration among companies, research institutions, and government. This initiative is part of the BEL-COO program, established by the Belgian government, which aims to facilitate joint research and/or development projects among Belgian companies across different regions such as Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels, ultimately boosting cooperation and reducing research costs.

Specifically, DISSOLV investigates a novel dissolution process to recycle post-consumer flexible PVC composite waste—like cushion vinyl flooring, coated textiles, and carpet backing—into rejuvenated PVC and non-PVC recyclates (e.g., polyester, fillers, and plasticizers). Each party contributes unique knowledge and expertise to the project. Three companies will evaluate applications, formulation and process technology , with the aim of reusing rejuvenated PVC recyclate in new or existing applications. Beaulieu International Group will focus on cushion vinyl applications, SIOEN on PVC-coated textiles, and Empire Carpets International on flooring mats. On the other hand, INEOS Inovyn, with its subsidiary INOVYN Manufacturing Belgium (IMB), will develop and install a prototype in Wallonia to validate a new dissolution-extraction recycling technology for separating PVC resin, polyester and plasticizers from post-consumer flexible vinyl waste. Additionally, ExxonMobil Chemical Europe contributes expertise in industrial plasticizer processing and flexible PVC formulation to the recycling project. Lastly, Centexbel supports overall innovation among Belgian companies.

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