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When the compact disc hit the market at the end of the 80s and became the most popular music medium, everyone believed that LPs were out for good. Around ten years ago, however, vinyl records gradually staged their comeback – sometimes black, sometimes colourful but always made of polyvinyl chloride resins or simply PVC.
About the same time, in 2009 to be exact, REMONDIS Aqua began treating the wastewater generated by one of the biggest PVC production plants. Located at the Botlek Business Park on the site of Europe’s largest deep water sea port in Rotterdam, the world’s biggest PVC producer Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. Ltd. uses this plant to manufacture the raw material needed to produce PVC, the so-called vinyl chloride monomer. Once transformed into PVC, it can then be used to make a whole range of products such as pipes, window frames, cable sheathing and flooring. And records, of course.
Shin-Etsu and REMONDIS Aqua have now extended their partnership by a further eight years to ensure that the around 500,000m³ of wastewater generated by the plastic production processes each year continue to be safely treated. Being the operator of the wastewater treatment facilities, REMONDIS’ international water and wastewater specialists now face a comprehensive work schedule in Rotterdam.
By providing its services, REMONDIS Aqua helps its customers to produce environmentally friendly raw materials for industrial businesses. And REMONDIS and Shin-Etsu have another thing in common as they strive to protect the environment: both set much store on recycling. Most of the processes operated by REMONDIS involve recovering materials for reuse and Shin-Etsu’s global operations use around 771,000 tonnes of recycled PVC – thus ensuring that this material, too, is returned to production cycles.
The composition of the wastewater generated by the plant’s chlor alkali product and vinyl chloride production activities is extremely complex. The wastewater treatment system at the Botlek Business Park in Rotterdam, therefore, involves two stages – a chemical-physical flocculation phase and a biological treatment phase – to ensure this water is treated effectively. In 2021, REMONDIS Aqua is to modernise, extend and adapt the facility to the ever increasing discharge requirements in five separate stages. An ambitious project, considering the challenging conditions and requirements of a chemicals production site and the fact that this work will be carried out while the plant remains in operation.