Renewi and PMC develop unique, safe and circular solution for recycling contaminated steel
Leading international waste-to-product company, Renewi plc (LSE: RWI) and start-up business Purified Metal Company (PMC) has developed a unique, safe and circular solution for the recycling of asbestos-contaminated steel.
Renewi will exclusively collect and transport contaminated steel directly to PMC’s new recycling facility in the Netherlands. As asbestos was frequently used in the construction of buildings, plants, ships and housing between 1960 and 1993, the lifespan of many of these structures will soon be coming to an end, resulting in a relatively large amount of asbestos-contaminated steel scrap. As asbestos is harmful for health, its remediation is usually an extremely labour-intensive and expensive process with any hazardous materials needing to be disposed of in a safe and controlled way.
PMC’s facility, which will open in 2020, has been specifically designed to recycle steel which has been contaminated with these hazardous substances into new secondary raw materials. It will combine innovative processes with existing techniques originating from other industries – the first time this unique combination has been used. During the process, the fibrous parts of the asbestos will be destroyed, ensuring that it is no longer hazardous. In addition, other hazardous substances contaminating the steel, such as chromium-6 and mercury, are captured or neutralised.
The process prepares steel for reuse in the form of Purified Metal Blocks (PMBs) which are raw materials typically used in the manufacturing industry that can be made to certain specifications, dependent on the requirements of the end user. The production of PMBs is safer, more affordable and more efficient than current remediation techniques.
The collaboration between the two companies will have benefits for both customers and the environment through the recovery of valuable raw materials from complex waste streams and the reduction of carbon emissions.
Gijs Derks, Commercial Director in Renewi’s Netherlands Commercial Division, said: “PMC’s processing method provides a unique solution for this particular waste stream. Renewi’s ‘waste no more’ vision matches perfectly with the goal behind the collaboration with PMC and its new innovative technique of processing contaminated steel to produce secondary raw materials.
Through collaboration with PMC, we are not only putting our vision into practice but also underlining our position as the leading waste-to-product company within the construction industry.”
Jan Henk Wijma, Managing Director and co-founder of PMC, said: “It’s fantastic to see an idea that we had a number of years ago coming into action. Through working with market leading company such as Renewi, we are able to offer a solution for the collection, transportation and processing of with asbestos-contaminated steel scrap that is both circular and safe. We can then convert this steel into a premium raw material for reuse. This means that we are taking the first big step towards fulfilling our mission of ensuring that absolutely no steel goes into the ground anywhere in the world!”