Silicone Rubber Recycling Process

silicone rubber recycling flow chart

Unlike plastic, paper, or glass recycling that is straight forward, recycling silicone rubber is relatively complicated. Our recycling plant chemically breaks down silicone rubber, a solid, and processes it into silicone oil, a liquid. Silicone oil (PDMS) is the building block for manufacturing a variety of silicone related products.

Our industrial-grade PDMS oils are distributed throughout the world for manufacturing into eco-friendly silicone products. For example, our silicone oil is used extensively in manufacturing silicone sealant, automotive waxes and polishes, and used as a lubricant for numerous industrial applications.

For more information about how our silicone recycling process works, see the step by step guide below.

STEP 1: Collect Silicone Rubber Worldwide

Silicone Rubber We Collect

The silicone rubber recycling process starts with the worldwide collection of our feed material, silicone rubber. The silicone rubber we collect are primarily from manufacturers of silicone products such as pacifiers and baby bottles, medical tubing and parts, automotive parts such as wire harnesses, silicone mats and boards, and more. The silicone rubber material we collect are often reject goods, “cut offs”, “runners”, and leftover materials.

We also process expired, used, or surplus silicone oil (PDMS) in liquid form. For example, do you have the following materials?

Dow Corning XIAMETER™ PMX-200
Wacker AK Series PDMS
Momentive ELEMENT 14
Shinetsu KF Series PDMS
*We welcome other brands and models.

In addition to PDMS, we also collect expired and surplus liquid silicone rubber (LSR), silicone sealant (RTV), and other liquid materials related to silicone.

If you have any of these materials, contact us to for a free consultation. Make sure to ask us about our free pick up services and plant analysis.

STEP 2: Grind Into Small Pieces

ground silicone rubber small pieces

We guarantee the secure destruction of all silicone rubber we collect. After collection, the silicone rubber is sorted and ground into small pieces. This process helps the silicone rubber to heat evenly in the next step.

Learn more about secure destruction.

STEP 3: High Temperature Heating

silicone rubber recycling chemical reactor

The next step of silicone rubber recycling is to heat the silicone rubber (small pieces) in high temperatures along with catalysts inside a large chemical reactor. This process completely breaks down the chemical bonds of the silicone rubber. It’s a batch process and our reactors hold several metric tons of silicone rubber. Each batch needs to be heated for several hours.

The hot vapors from the chemical reactions are cooled in multiple stages through a complex array of apparatuses. The resulting liquid is collected.

STEP 4: Fine filtration

silicone rubber recycling filtration

The liquid collected in the above step is a precursor to producing PDMS silicone oil. The technical term for this liquid is dimethylcyclosiloxane. At this stage, the liquid is in a raw form and filled with impurities.

The liquid that has been collected so far goes through a series filtration to remove solid impurities. We’re able to remove solids that are as small as .001 inches or .025 millimeters!

STEP 5: Redistribution

silicone rubber recycling redistribution

The filtered liquid dimethylcyclosiloxane (DMC) is now ready to return to another one of our chemical reactors to be further heated with catalysts in a process called redistribution. This process refines the chemical structures and further removes moisture and impurities.

The outcome is pure DMC that is clear, odorless, and water-like. This is the basic building block for producing our final product, silicone oil or polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS).

STEP 6: Polymerization

silicone rubber recycling polymerization

We’re now ready for the final stage in the silicone rubber recycling process called polymerization. This process builds up the silicone chains producing silicone oil. This is an essential step where the viscosities of our silicone oils are determined.

Although we sometimes produce custom viscosities for our silicone oils, our common viscosities we manufacture and keep in stock are, 350cs and 1000cs.

STEP 7: Collect Silicone Oil

silicone rubber recycling silicone oil

It’s time to let the reactors cool and collect the finished silicone oil. Before it can be packaged for distribution, the oil goes through another round of fine filtration.

Although the silicone oil we produce are made from a recycling process, there is practically no difference between our PDMS fluids compared to virgin grade materials. This is because our silicone recycling process chemically breaks down silicone rubber into basic building blocks. We rebuild the silicone oil from scratch similar to how virgin silicone oil is manufactured from silicon dioxide.

Our PDMS fluids are already being used by many large-scale manufacturing processes in the USA. It’s been proven again and again to work in numerous applications. Ask our consultants for COAs of our recent silicone oil batches and compared them with the silicone oil you’re using now.

We guarantee our products to work with your application! Contact us to request a free sample today!