Paint Ingredient from Paper Sludge

Multinational paints and coatings company AkzoNobel and Alucha, a firm that develops recycling solutions, are collaborating on a technology that turns paper sludge into resources for making paint.

Alucha, which won the partnership in the 2019 Paint the Future global startup challenge, has developed a technology that recovers calcium carbonate – a mineral that goes into things like plastics, paper, and paints – from paper waste. Paper sludge is left of paper once the fibers have broken down so much that it cannot be recycled anymore. This sort of waste is the paper industry’s biggest waste stream. “Together, we can help make something useable out of it,” a press release on the AkzoNobel homepage underlined. “Today, calcium carbonate comes out of mines and quarries in great quantities. It goes into plastics, paper, paints, pharmaceuticals and all sorts of everyday life products which will be thrown away and end up in landfill or incineration facilities,” Gijs Jansen, Alucha CEO, is cited. “Either way, you lose the calcium carbonate and burning it will generate carbon dioxide (CO2).” Alucha’s technology to recover calcium carbonate would mean less waste in the landfill or incinerator, and also less reliance on mining.

What AkzoNobel finds especially exciting about Alucha’s technology is that the calcium carbonate recovered from paper sludge is an “essential raw material we use in our paint”, the multinational company underlined. This non-commodity supply would offer a relatively low cost and efficient way to make the products more sustainable and circular. “At AkzoNobel, we intend to buy this mineral from Alucha and become their launching customer,” Rinske van Heiningen, AkzoNobel’s Director of Sustainability, announced. “In the coming months, we’ll be testing the calcium carbonate Alucha collected from its pilot phase at the Sassenheim laboratory in the Netherlands. We’ve decided to use the recycled calcium carbonate in a filler to start with. Because of the filler’s relatively small scale, it’ll be easier to test, integrate and launch.”

Now Alucha is creating a consortium of partners to establish the “world’s first circular calcium carbonate ‘mine’”.

(GR32020, Page 19, Photo: Free-Photos / Pixabay)