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TEKNOR APEX AND GUMDROP LTD. WORK TOGETHER TO RECYCLE CHEWING GUM INTO TPEs

Wellington Boots

Working with Chewing Gum Waste, Teknor Apex Met the Challenge with Gumdrop Ltd of Developing Methods for Commercial-Scale Production

LONDON, October 4, 2016: The custom compounding expertise of Teknor Apex Company has enabled UK-based Gumdrop Ltd. to advance its sustainability program of diverting chewing gum waste from landfill by converting it into a raw material for thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs).

Gumdrop Ltd. specializes in the recycling of waste chewing gum. Having created a program for reclaiming pre and post-consumer gum for use in material it calls Gum-Tec™, the company turned to Teknor Apex to develop and produce compounds from the large waste stream of the 500,000 ton per year chewing gum industry. The challenge was to devise formulation and manufacturing techniques for an altogether new type of raw material in order to produce commercial-scale quantities of compounds that consistently meet the requirements of specific applications, including optimized elasticity, compression set, tensile properties, and other mechanical properties, as well as processability.

Teknor Apex accepted the challenge and applied its expertise as a leading international custom compounder with extensive experience in TPE manufacture, noted Stef Hordijk, senior market manager for Teknor Apex. “We assembled a multi-disciplinary team drawing on our capabilities for materials analysis, process engineering, and manufacturing,” said Mr. Hordijk. “The team addressed basic considerations such as feeding it into our equipment, formulating compound recipes using this unique raw material, determining optimal compounding process parameters, and other issues posed by such an unusual feedstock.”

The chewing gum waste comprises up to 30% of the new gum-based TPE compounds.

“Like standard TPEs, the Gum-Tec compounds we have developed exhibit a low compression set, can be formulated for either glossy or matte finishes, readily accept colors, and are recyclable,” said Mr. Hordijk.

Among the first commercial applications for Gum-Tec™ compounds was that of Wellington boots available at www.mygumboots.com. The latest is shoe soles. Some other uses are caster wheels, automotive bumpers and floor mats, window gaskets, wristwatch straps, toothbrush grips, and extruded pencils.

“Our aim is to divert the substantial amount of chewing gum waste and convert it into Gum-Tec compounds for use in the runner and plastics market, giving this waste stream a second life and putting it to use in high-quality end products that contribute to sustainability,” said Anna Bullus, director at Gumdrop Ltd. “Every kilogram of chewing gum that goes into a Gum-Tec compound means one less kilogram going to the landfill.”

Gumdrop Ltd. was founded in 2009 by Anna Bullus, a designer with a special interest in plastics and recycling. Gumdrop Ltd. specializes in the recycling of pre and post-consumer gum waste, converting waste gum into Gum-Tec™ compounds which can be used for a number of different rubber and plastic applications. For more information visit www.gumdropltd.com and www.mygumboots.com

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About Teknor Apex. Teknor Apex Company, a privately held firm founded in 1924, is one of the world’s leading custom compounders of plastics. Teknor Apex produces flexible and rigid vinyl, thermoplastic elastomers, nylons, color masterbatches, specialty chemicals, and hoses. The company is headquartered in Pawtucket, RI, U.S.A. and operates thirteen manufacturing facilities worldwide in the United States, Belgium, Germany, China, and Singapore. To learn more visit: www.teknorapex.com.

The Thermoplastic Elastomer Division of Teknor Apex Company offers the broadest portfolio of TPE compounds available from a single source. The division compounds TPEs at eight locations in the U.S., Europe, and Asia under the brands: Elexar® (electrical and electronics applications), Medalist® (medical devices), Monprene® (consumer and industrial products), and Sarlink® (transportation).

READER INQUIRY INFORMATION: Americas: Teknor Apex, 505 Central Avenue, Pawtucket, RI 02861 U.S.A. Tel: 1-401-725-8000. Tel. from U.S. only: 1-866-GET-TPEs (1-866-438-8737). Fax: 1-401-728-5680. E-mail: tpe@teknorapex.com. Europe: Teknor Apex, Mijnweg 1, 6167AC, Geleen, Netherlands. Tel: 31 (0) 46-7020950. Email: eutpe@teknorapex.com. Asia: Teknor Apex Asia Pacific, 41 Shipyard Road, Singapore 628134. Tel: 65-6265-2544. Fax: 65-6265-1821. Email: apactpe@teknorapex.com.