Apart from their use in the automotive, fashion and construction sectors, old bottles can also be found in other everyday products. At its Roncello site, Italy, Freudenberg Home and Cleaning Solutions has recycled PET for almost 15 years. More than 97 million bottles are converted each year into broom bristles for the Vileda brand. The bottles arrive at Freudenberg Home and Cleaning Solutions as flakes. Once there, they are melted in an extruder into long filaments at 280 degrees Celsius. “The simplest thing to do is think of it like a spaghetti press,” explains David Partiti, R&D Manufacturing Director EMEA at Freudenberg Home and Cleaning Solutions in Roncello. “The filaments are then placed in a water bath for curing and stretching until they reach the desired thickness.”
The Vileda broom bristles have a diameter of less than one millimeter and are as fine as a human hair. However, unlike pasta, the recycled manufactured PET filaments must be durable and resilient.
“For the production of our broom bristles at the Roncello site, we already use more than 80 percent recycled PET,” says David Partiti. And demand is growing. Today, Freudenberg Home and Cleaning Solutions is researching the use of recycled PET to manufacture other products.
For the cleaning technology experts, PET is not the only material to get a new lease of life. Other plastic recyclates, including processed polypropylene, are also used for new products, such as buckets.