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RENOV : Recycling and reincorporation of elastomer materials

A circular economy project at Elkem

The current economic model of the production and use of plastics and polymers in general still remains largely linear (i.e. take, make, waste). The main challenge of this industrial sector today lies in the transition to a circular economy that will limit environmental impacts, by collecting waste, recycling it and reintroducing it into the manufacturing chain. Cross-linked elastomeric materials are used in many applications because of their elastic, sealing and anti-vibration properties. However, unlike thermoplastic polymers, the recycling of such material is technologically more complex, as cured elastomers cannot be reused or reprocessed simply due to the specific properties related to crosslinking of their polymer chains.

Objective of this circular economy project

The objective of the RENOV project is the development of technologies for the mechanical recycling of cured and cross-linked elastomeric material waste, focusing on recycling technologies and material analysis.  An optimal reincorporation into formulations containing virgin elastomers for upcycled or iso-properties applications is targeted.

Project focus on 3 specific streams:

  • At an organizational level, the development of mechanisms for waste recovery of elastomeric material;
  • At a scientific, technical and regulatory level, the development of methods for analysing both the chemical composition of waste and the development of recycling routes, either purely mechanical, or combining mechanical and chemical recycling ;
  • At economic and environmental levels, Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) as well as the study of the cost of each solution as a whole, from waste recovery to the manufacture of the final product incorporating recycled product.

Expected results of silicones recycling project


  • Online analysis: analysis of the chemical composition of waste and monitoring of the recycling process.
  • elastomer micronisation processes.
  • Treatment process: combination of mechanical and chemical recycling processes
  • Incorporation of micronized elastomer particles as such or chemically treated as new raw materials in formulations
  • Incorporation of regeneration products as new raw materials into formulations

Economic & social

Within the partner companies of the project, the implementation of waste recovery and recycling processes will create new jobs in R&D, production and business development specialized in the circular economy. 

The micronization of elastomers will allow the development of new technologies and therefore new jobs.

In addition, the reincorporation of recycled raw materials into new products will meet the needs and expectations of customers of the industrial partners involved allowing them to maintain or even gain market share compared to competitors who using only virgin raw materials.

Environment & Regulations

The objectives of the project are:

  • to reduce the carbon footprint of products manufactured by industrial partners, optimize resource consumption, and reduce and eliminate waste volumes that are currently landfilled or incinerated.
  • to comply with the new European regulations and the various market directives.

Application and valuation

The ambition of the RENOV project is to allow the reincorporation of recycled products at the highest possible rate (the compromise between properties against recycling rate is to be discovered) in the manufacture of existing product ranges initially and in new applications. Whatever the type of elastomers, the project will make it possible to meet the growing demand of markets for products containing higher proportions of recycled materials, meeting the challenges of maintaining market share and finding new customers.

This project financed by ADEME (The French Agency for Ecological Transition) in the frame of France 2030  is coordinated by Elkem and conducted in partnership with Hutchinson, Nexans and Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (IMP, CP2M and ISA).

Sustainability at Elkem

To learn more about our sustainability initiatives, check our webpage.

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