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Zero WasteCan you recycle silicone?

Can you recycle silicone?

It certainly is possible to recycle silicone 

Many things on this planet can be easily recycled, such as glass, paper, and plastic. Silicon can also be recycled, but the process is more complicated. At silicon recycling plants, a chemical process is used to break down silicon rubber, which is a solid, and then turns it into a liquid, more specifically, a silicon oil that provides the raw material used to manufacture all kinds of silicon products. The silicon oil produced during the silicon recycling process is distributed far and wide to the distant corners of the planet, where it is once again used to produce a wide range of silicon products, all of which are eco-friendly. For example, silicon oil produced when solid silicon is recycled is frequently used to produce silicon sealant and a variety of products used in the automotive industry. Silicon oil is also turned into quality lubricants used in a range of industrial processes.  

The global collection of silicon rubber

Large silicon recycling corporations collect silicon rubber from all across the planet. A popular source of silicon rubber is the manufacturers of silicon products such as those that produce medical parts, especially silicon tubing. There are also the manufacturers of baby bottles and pacifiers and the automotive industries where things such as silicon mats are used as well as wire harnesses and several other things. Despite strict quality control measures, many of those manufacturers produce rejects or cut-off or leftover products that cannot be used anymore. Even though silicon is extremely durable, its usefulness eventually comes to an end, and during the recycling process, all of these things are turned into reusable silicon oil. Some of the products that are of interest to recyclers are Shinetsu KF Series PDMS, Momentive ELEMENT 14, Wacker AK Series PDMS, and Dow Corning XIAMETER™ PMX-200.

The recycling process

Reputable recycling corporations will always ensure utmost care during the silicon destruction process. All of the collected silicon is carefully sorted, whereafter it is ground into very small pieces. This is essential to ensure even temperatures during the heating process. High temperatures and catalysts are necessary, and everything happens inside a sizable chemical reactor. A unique process is used which ensures the total breakdown of the chemical bonds of that silicone rubber. This is done in large quantities, and in fact, the typical reactor can process very large quantities of silicone rubber weighing many tons. The process requires high temperatures, which have to be applied for several hours producing extremely hot vapors because of the chemical reactions. Those vapors are then cooled through a complicated process that stretches over numerous stages, finally producing the coveted silicon oil, which can then be used to manufacture new silicon products. So silicon recycling is not only possible but also a process that is taking place at various locations all across our planet.

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