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Garden hoses are turned into garden hoses

Nitrogen or carbon dioxide optimises the recycling of PVC components

PVC – polyvinyl chloride– is one of the most widely used plastics in Europe. If plasticisers are added to the PVC, it can be used for floor coverings, dash panels in cars or garden hoses. Recycling such PVC components presents a challenge: To permit them to be reused for their original purpose, they must be ground into a fine powder. Because the electric-powered grinder motors generate heat, the temperature rises, the plasticised PVC parts begin to clump together, and it becomes impossible to grind them finely. The solution is to employ cryogenic liquid nitrogen or carbon dioxide. This cools the process and embrittles the base material, thus permitting fine grinding.

And the gases also perform another function: their low temperatures support the separation of various components – in the case of garden hoses, the soft PVC and the reinforcing mesh. The ground material, a soft PVC granulate, is then ground even more finely and sieved out. What remains is a pure, high-quality PVC powder which can be reused as a base material – for example for new garden hoses.

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