Bridgeworks firm receives grant to improve plastics recycling process

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Illustration of Zzyzx Polymer's “continuous mechanochemical compatibilization
Illustration of Zzyzx Polymer's “continuous mechanochemical compatibilization" process (Source: Zpolymers.com)

Zzyzx Polymers has received a $737,000 small-business innovation research grant from the National Science Foundation to support the company’s research and development of a new plastic polymers manufacturing process.

The plastics company, recently accepted into the incubation program at Bridgeworks Enterprise Center in Allentown, is developing a method to process post-consumer plastic materials using an approach known as “continuous mechanochemical compatibilization.”

The Zzyzx Polymers project will focus on using the process to recycle materials without the need for extensive cleaning or sorting, thereby reducing processing steps, and returning value to these materials in a more cost-competitive way.

According to Bridgeworks, the process could greatly increase the amount of plastic that can be recycled, noting that in 2010 only 8 percent of the 230 million tons of plastic waste generated in the U.S. was recovered for recycling.

“These are the types of companies that we have been actively recruiting,” said Anthony Durante, program manager for the Allentown Economic Development Corp., which runs the Bridgeworks. “Zzyzx Polymers is working on an innovative process that potentially has a huge impact on the world and in industry. Having these ‘next-generation of manufacturing’ type companies in our program is simply awesome.”

Zzyzx has begun setting up its equipment in the Allentown manufacturing incubator and is aiming to start producing prototype plastic resins by the end of the summer.

Also, Zzyzx has been selected to receive an investment by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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