Hitachi Chemical develops method to recycle fiberglass

Hitachi Chemical Co. has developed a method of separating glass fiber reinforced plastic into its components, enabling the recycling of the glass fibers.
Currently, the difficulty in separating the g…

Hitachi Chemical Co. has developed a method of separating glass fiber reinforced plastic into its components, enabling the recycling of the glass fibers. Currently, the difficulty in separating the glass from the plastic means that most waste is either incinerated or put into land fill. With the new process, waste fiberglass is cleaned and then put inside a container filled with an alcohol-based solvent and a special catalyst. The plastic dissolves and the small particles of filler fall to the bottom of the container, allowing the glass fibers to be recovered. Hitachi Chemical has invested JPY 19 million in building two pilot plants with 200-liter containers, giving the company a processing capacity of around 1 ton of fiberglass per month. It is now working with firms in the group to develop ways of producing recycled products from the recovered glass fibers. One proposal is to sort the glass fibers by length and other features, using the higher-quality fibers for new fiberglass and the lower-quality fibers for mat materials.