The multinational says the pilot programme represents another addition to its successful recycling scheme in North America, and that although it will be limited to Germany initially, it aims to expand the initiative to neighbouring countries.
DuPont explained: “The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the PPE procured at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic led to up to 87,000 tonnes of waste globally. While chemically or biologically contaminated PPE must be appropriately disposed of, uncontaminated items are potentially recyclable.”
DuPont Tyvek garments are used across multiple applications – including cleanrooms, pharmaceuticals manufacturing, healthcare, and industrial processing. The company explained: “Most disposable garments are manufactured using blends of plastics, which can make the recycling process complex. Even when garments are recyclable, the outcome is often low-quality plastics with limited applications. Unlike other garments, DuPont Tyvek clothing is made using a single material – high-density polyethylene (HDPE) – through a patented flash-spinning technology. This makes it easier to recycle than multi-material fabrics, while enabling the production of quality HDPE end-products with multiple applications.”
DuPont’s recycling programme will enable companies in Germany to work directly with plastic recyclers and to ship used suitable clothing in large batches directly to the plastic recycler. Users of Tyvek will thus help reduce plastic waste, while limiting transport emissions and reducing landfill and incineration costs. DuPont says it now aims to replicate the German model in other European countries by identifying suitable local recyclers.