Toronto, Ontario — AkzoNobel has been working with Alucha, a company that develops innovative recycling solutions to transform paper sludge into the paint.
In 2019, Alucha became one of five winners of the Paint the Future global startup challenge and formed a partnership with AkzoNobel.
Gijs Jansen, Alucha CEO, and Rinske van Heiningen, AkzoNobel’s Director of Sustainability, shared what’s next in this exciting partnership in a recent article on the company’s site.
Upon entering the Paint the Future challenge Alucha knew that the paint industry would be a valuable consumer of calcium carbonate from paper waste—a mineral that goes into materials like plastic, paper, and paints, said Jansen. The reason being is paper sludge—what’s left of paper once the fibres have broken down so much that they are deemed unrecyclable—is currently the paper industry’s biggest waste contributor.
“Today, calcium carbonate comes out of mines and quarries in great quantities. It goes into plastics, paper, paints, pharmaceuticals and all sorts of everyday life products which will be thrown away and end up in landfill or incineration facilities,” says Jansen.
However, with this new technology paper sludge will no longer plague the paper industry and can now, instead, be put to good use by AkzoNobel.
“Our technology to recover calcium carbonate will mean less waste in the landfill or incinerator, and also less reliance on mining,” says Jansen.
The calcium carbonate recovered from paper sludge is an essential raw material we use in AkzoNobel’s paint, says Heiningen. This non-commodity supply offers a relatively low cost and efficient way to make products more sustainable and promotes a circular economy.
“At AkzoNobel, we intend to buy this mineral from Alucha and become their launching customer. We’re very excited about opportunities to use recycled raw materials in our products. Our partnership with Alucha is one such example supporting our ‘People. Planet. Paint.’ sustainability ambitions,” said Heiningen.
In the coming months, AkzoNobel will be testing the calcium carbonate Alucha collected from its pilot phase at the Sassenheim laboratory in the Netherlands, says Heiningen.