The innovation of TUSTI is a technology which uses a much cheaper type of liquids to help cleaning oil and fat from the waste plastics and make recycling of greasy plastic possible.
TIAS School for Business and Society
“Some people do clean the dirty plastic but use a lot of energy. Why would you be spending so much energy to clean recycled plastic? Not a sustainable solution I would say. If people don’t try to clean, they will just burn it and use it as fuel.” (Jan Kolijn, co-owner, CTO)
TUSTI was founded in 2015 by Jan Kolijn, CTO, and Eline Stiphout, CEO. Both of the founders grew up in a world that reaches its limits of energy demand and aware of the corporate social and environmental responsibility. They both want to contribute to maintain the quality of life for today's and future generations.
The innovation of the company is a chemical based technology that can help to clean and remove the fat and grease from the waste streams that are hard for other recycling companies to handle. According to the founder, in the Netherlands only 35% of the plastic waste collected could be recycled and turned into new products. The rest will be burnt because it is hard to clean and too difficult to separate. Thus, a lot f of high-quality materials have been wasted. TUSTI is confident that their technology will improve the situation by a great deal.
There are other companies offering clean recycling solutions with other techniques. The competitive advantages of TUSTI are lower cost and lower energy consumption. Also, the amount of waste that is created by using the technology is much less comparing to other solutions.
“There is this plastic recycling company called STIPHOUT PLASTICS. They saw more and more plastics become too dirty to clean. That’s why they tried to ask for help at Eindhoven University of Technology. I was working there. They came to me and asked ‘Is there some chemical that can help which is not expensive and does no damage to the environment? After half a year of research, we had a solution.” (Jan Kolijn, Co-owner, CTO)
In early 2015 Eline Stiphout, CEO of STIPHOUT PLASTICS, came to Eindhoven University of Technology to ask for help on the issue of removing greasy fat from plastics. Jan Kolijn, a chemical engineer who was working there in the University, took the challenge and set up a research project. The half year research project was a success and they saw the potential of starting a business which can benefit not only the society but also the environment. Following that the company TUSTI was founded in May by Jan and Eline. They filed their first patent in autumn to protect the technology. In 2016, they found some much more cleaning liquids that are much cheaper and filed a second patent. In 2017 the first demonstration factory was built to show the practical side of the technology: the technology works not only in lab scale, but also in a processing scale of 1000kg/hr. Following the success of the factory at the end of 2017, in 2018 TUSTI started to develop the technology to use for another type of waste. The target now is to be able to implement the new technology into the factory at the end of 2019.
“When you use chemicals to clean – chemical waste is created, but we do not create waste because our clean liquid is nonhazardous and is broken down by nature.” (Jan Kolijn, co-owner, CTO)
TUSTI is an environmentally friendly and profitable business. They are in many aspects making contributions to the sustainable development goals. TUSTI uses clean energy and waste water to clean the plastic which helps to save clean water usage. By applying and expanding the technology, TUSTI reduces the amount of non-recycled plastics, the chemical waste created by using cleaning agent, energy consumption and CO2 emission. This not only benefits the society but also benefits the overall environment and the livings on the planet.
Oils and greasy residues on plastic create huge problems for every plastic converter. To clean fat, complex processes are used which requires both high OPEX (energy) and CAPEX (separation equipment). TUSTI’s technology helps to reduce cost and increase profitability.
TUSTI has now only one production location and it is now already profitable. The company sees plenty of opportunities to expand the business to other European countries. They expect to build more production locations in the near future, and the expectation is that it will take approximately one year for each location to become profitable. The most important way to create added value is to franchise license of the patented technology to companies in different countries. Another way is to work on research projects with other companies, which are waste collecting companies in most cases. They are not doing plastic recycling, but they are interested in what is happening with those plastics. Also, it is possible to use this technology not only on plastics, but also on other greasy materials and applications that are hard to handle and need to be cleaned.
TUSTI is partially supported by a subsidy from the Dutch Government. The government recognizes TUSTI as company with activities that can benefit the country. Subsidies have been given for different projects and lead to new technology. The duration depends on the project: the shortest is 6 months and the longest is 2.5 years. This subsidy is only necessary to develop new technology and it is not necessary for the operational part of the TUSTI process.
“Compared to burning plastic and making new stuff, our technology saves 3 ton of CO2 per ton of plastic. Quite a lot.” (Jan Kolijn, co-owner, CTO)
The cleaning process uses waste water and certified green energy from landfill gas at the nearby municipal waste site, where the factory is located. The liquids, such as water and oil, are separated using sophisticated technology. The cleaning agent is used repeatedly, and the purified oil is delivered to biofuel producers. Also, this cleaning process operates at room temperature and minimizes the energy demand.
TUSTI also hires people with poor job prospects to work. Currently the company employs 2 people, and plans to grow to 15 people in 2020.
Jan Kolijn, CTO and Co-Owner
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Eindhoven, North Brabant, NL
Business Website: https://www.tusti.nl
Year Founded: 2015
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
TUSTI is a high-tech recycling company which designed a new technology that can help to clean and recycle up to 100% of the plastic waste collected and, as a result, reduce the amount of burnt plastic and CO2 emission as well. The cleaning process uses waste water and nonhazardous cleaning liquid. Also, the technology increases the profitability of recycling companies and could be scale-upped around the world.