A growing business driving the circular economy
When Continuus Materials was founded in 2016, its original focus was on turning waste into fuel. The company has been growing constantly: they currently have 45 employees and, in addition to their headquarters in Houston, they have plants in Des Moines, IA and Philadelphia, PA. Continuus’s current business focus is to capture mixed paper and plastic waste and transform it into high-performance building materials for exterior walls and commercial roofs, such as roof cover boards. Their plant in Philadelphia is one of the largest recycling units in the country.
Closed-loop recycling at scale
While the waste recycling initiatives grow, further extraction and innovative treatment methods of the valuable waste streams continue to expand. “Continuus as a company is 100% focused on changing the metrics of how the planet is handling post-consumer waste,” says Chris Riley, CEO, Continuus Materials.
The waste-to-resources company has a unique closed-loop process for producing their material. “It starts with municipal waste; we take out everything but paper and plastic, shred it and make board, which is recyclable itself, containing 40% plastic and 60% paper,” explains Jeff Dushack of Continuus Materials.
Their key product, Everboard™, is a construction product made of recycled plastics and cellulose fiber, and it offers a thermal, air, and vapor barrier for roofing systems. “We are the only manufacturer in the US that is taking municipal solid waste and recycling and upcycling the paper and plastic portions of that waste into a high-performance building product – closed-loop recycling at scale. For every 1,000 square feet of our Everboard™ roof cover board installed, we divert 800 pounds of plastic waste and 1,200 pounds of paper waste,” continues Jeff Dushack. “Everboard™ is durable for high impact; it protects the roof from foot and wheel traffic, hail damage etc.”
A reliable pre-shredder boosts production
In the waste business, capacity and uptime are the key success factors. Continuus Materials uses pre-shredding to increase the efficiency of their waste sorting process. Reducing the size of waste also has a positive impact on the whole production process. However, they had noticed that their old shredder was a bottleneck in the production. “Our original shredder had poor onstream performance. It was not a reliable machine,” says Rick Cochrane, SVP of Business Development, Continuus. They started to look for a more reliable shredding option for their material.
After a careful vendor qualification process, it turned out that the M&J PreShred 4000s waste shredder was the best option for their needs. The MJ 4000s was an ideal choice to handle the extremely varied incoming waste material. It also offers the throughput that meets the desired specifications. “The equipment has performed as we hoped it would. It works, it does the job – there’s no need to worry about it. Today we have two shredders and each one operates at 50 tonnes/hour,” Rick Cochrane happily shares.
“To effectively treat the collected waste in a processing plant, we need to break it down into the correct sizing. We need to know exactly what size, what weight, what type of material it is, so that the downstream process can handle it correctly and effectively,” says Morten Rasmussen, Commercial Director, Metso Waste Recycling.