Odor Scavenger – important means to increase the recycling of plastics


Nexam Chemical is working continuously with innovation and business development in the sustainability area. Recycling is an area of increasing importance and circularity in both materials and processes is a key factor for economize with the planet’s resources. A commonly known problem in the recycling of plastics is that the materials often are contaminated with bad odors which makes them difficult to manage for further treatment and use. That is why Nexam Chemical has developed a series of odor neutralizing products, known as odor scavenger, within the Performance Masterbatch-segment, which will effectively give new life to recycled plastics free from odors and with improved properties.

Odor scavengers can be applied in different materials and application areas. One of the larger areas of use is probably recycling of polyethene materials, where the original material has been used in for example food packaging or plastic bags. Unwanted odors may have been added to the material which will not disappear through the regular recycling process. It is also possible to apply odor scavengers to polypropylene materials as well as materials where polyethene and polypropylene are combined. Further, the product can be added to polar polymers such as nylon which is often found in different types of packaging materials.

Given that the areas of application are wide there are great opportunities to use odor scavengers to recycle materials which would otherwise have to been discarded due to unwanted or hazardous odors. A batch may contain such strong odor which makes it dangerous to manage, why odor scavengers also has a great value from a working environment perspective.

The technology behind odor scavengers can be built in numerous different ways. Through applying additives to a material which reacts with certain odor molecules, these molecules can be inactivated. You can also find the specific molecules and discard them, so called odor stripping. This is a method which works well with certain types of odors, but worse with others. Further, there is also the possibility to heat the material to very high temperatures which can release absorbed odor molecules through desorption.

The difficulty for many manufacturers is to assess which method to use since it is dependent on various factors such as the combination of odor molecules, type of polymers and the reason for the odor’s emergence. The latter is not always easy to ascertain since odors may arise both from the material itself and through external influence.

Nexam Chemical knows that there is a considerable demand of odor scavengers on the market and is continuously performing screenings and tests to develop as optimal products as possible. Further, we are working with a multi-purpose product, Multifunctional Antiodor Masterbatch, which besides from neutralizing unwanted odors also revives the original material’s properties, such as viscosity and stability which may have been impaired during the recycling process. All with the aim to facilitate recycling and circular streams.