Powder Coating Recycling Powder coating involves the use of pigmented powder that is sprayed and then melted onto a part to create a finish. The powder is typically applied using electrostatics, creating a charged part that will attract the powder coating to increase transfer efficiency. Powder coatings contain no solvents, which means that they contain no hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and no (or very few) volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This makes powder an excellent option for companies that want to reduce pollution. When compared to liquid coatings, powders get better transfer efficiency, and over sprayed powder can easily be reclaimed for reuse or recycling.
Sometimes it is not practical or cost effective to reclaim and reuse waste powder. In these situations, recycling offers an alternative for powder overspray and left over coatings, rather than sending the powder to landfill. To learn more about the powder coating recycling process, MnTAP interviewed Brian Spicer from Surplus Coatings, a powder recycling company servicing Minnesota.
MnTAP: Can you tell me about your company and what you do?
Brian Spicer: Surplus Coatings started in 1995 buying and selling manufacturer’s off-spec powder coatings being landfilled at the time. Eventually, word spread, and companies started calling and asking whether we took overspray. We didn’t at the time, but we got so many phone calls we started looking in to how to recycle it. During the R & D phase, we estimated that 20 million pounds of waste powder coating is disposed of annually in the US. The result of the R & D phase was the development of a proprietary way to re-use and recycle powder overspray. The recycled material is used as a bonding agent for the nonwoven textile industry. This bonding agent is used in filters, carpets, mats, and clothing. It can also be reprocessed back into powder used for wood and wire coating.