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Comment Sustainability

Canadian partners exploring new chemical recycling pilot plant for agricultural plastic waste

By Mary Page Bailey |

Aduro Clean Technologies, a Canadian developer of patented water-based technologies to chemically recycle plastics and transform heavy crude and renewable oils into new-era resources and higher-value fuels, has entered into discussions with Switch Energy, a recycler and operator participating in Canada’s agricultural & industrial film recycling program by owning and operating the largest collection program for agricultural waste in the province of Ontario. The goal of these discussions is to develop a framework whereby the two companies can work together to design, build, install, and operate a pilot plant to process waste polyethylene and other types of waste plastics, such as polypropylene.

Canadian farms generate an estimated 60,000 tons of plastic every year. Farmers and their local communities would like to recycle agricultural plastics like bale/silage wrap, twine, and greenhouse film to keep their farms clean and prevent these materials from ending in landfills. But until now, there has not been a way to locally process this waste plastic in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner.

This is because most plastic recycling technologies and projects require large-scale installations to achieve economic feasibility, putting them out of reach for many recyclers. To address this and other issues, Aduro aims to deploy modular, smaller-scale facilities that can be co-located at or near waste streams. In the case of Switch Energy, the pilot plant will accommodate the need for farmers to economically divert their agricultural waste plastics from landfills. Successful implementation could result in similar projects across North America.

Switch Energy has over a decade of experience with the collection of agricultural waste, design and development of plastic washing, mechanical shredding, feed systems setup, and product offtake sales and marketing. This experience makes Switch Energy the ideal partner for this pilot plant. Aduro will provide expertise in the Hydrochemolytic technology (HCT) process design, including identifying optimal finished product specifications and engagement with the chemical and petrochemicals industry for long-term offtake engagement. The pilot plant will be scaled for tonnes per day capacity.

“Our discussions with Aduro over the past few months, along with an in-depth review of their technology, has convinced us that their HCT-based solution is a superior solution compared to alternatives. Their technology operates at low temperatures, has no issue dealing with high concentration levels of moisture, and is versatile enough to process other types of plastics and contaminates. Therefore, we are very excited about working with Aduro to advance this important technology to a commercial scale. As a farmer, I see the need for solutions, and not just regulations, so we don’t have to send agricultural waste to landfills,” says Don Nott, founder and CEO of Switch Energy.

The project enables Aduro to demonstrate the unique capability of the HCT technology, and it represents a natural progression for Aduro following its imminent attainment of the First Milestone. “Achieving the First Milestone remains a main goal for us, which means demonstrating that our technology works well in the continuous-flow mode needed for commercial systems. Our data supports new discussion regarding pilots for different applications, such as waste plastics,” explains Ofer Vicus, CEO of Aduro.

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