The lubricant industry has made significant progress in recent years in addressing the environmental impact of their products, but there is still much work to be done. One area that has proven particularly challenging is the recycling of used lubricant packaging, due to the residual oil left behind after use.
However, a new recycling coalition founded in the United States in March 2021, the National Lubricant Container Recycling Coalition, aims to establish a program that reuses and recycles used lubricant containers. Despite the coalition’s ambitious goals, research conducted in the early stages of its existence suggests that the task ahead will be arduous.
One way to address the challenges of lubricant packaging recycling is to work with companies that specialize in contract manufacturing and packaging services for specialty formulas.
Currently, there are two recycling processes that can potentially be used for used lubricant containers: chemical recycling and mechanical recycling. Chemical recycling is better suited for containers that have residual oil in them because it converts the used plastic into a monomer. In contrast, mechanical recycling requires the oil to be cleaned off the plastic to an acceptable level before the materials are melted down, run through an extruder, and mixed with other plastics.
By partnering with a company like Bernard Laboratories, businesses in the lubricant industry can leverage their expertise to create packaging solutions that are recyclable and sustainable. Together, we can overcome the challenges of lubricant packaging recycling and contribute to a more sustainable future.