Renewi and PMC develop unique, safe and circular solution for recycling contaminated steel 

Renewi and PMC develop unique, safe and circular solution for recycling contaminated steel 

Leading international waste-to-product company, Renewi plc (LSE: RWI) and start-up business Purified Metal Company (PMC) has developed a unique, safe and circular solution for the recycling of asbestos-contaminated steel. 

Renewi will exclusively collect and transport contaminated steel directly to PMC’s new recycling facility in the Netherlands. As asbestos was frequently used in the construction of buildings, plants, ships and housing between 1960 and 1993, the lifespan of many of these structures will soon be coming to an end, resulting in a relatively large amount of asbestos-contaminated steel scrap. As asbestos is harmful for health, its remediation is usually an extremely labour-intensive and expensive process with any hazardous materials needing to be disposed of in a safe and controlled way. 

PMC’s facility, which will open in 2020, has been specifically designed to recycle steel which has been contaminated with these hazardous substances into new secondary raw materials. It will combine innovative processes with existing techniques originating from other industries – the first time this unique combination has been used. During the process, the fibrous parts of the asbestos will be destroyed, ensuring that it is no longer hazardous. In addition, other hazardous substances contaminating the steel, such as chromium-6 and mercury, are captured or neutralised. 

The process prepares steel for reuse in the form of Purified Metal Blocks (PMBs) which are raw materials typically used in the manufacturing industry that can be made to certain specifications, dependent on the requirements of the end user. The production of PMBs is safer, more affordable and more efficient than current remediation techniques. 

The collaboration between the two companies will have benefits for both customers and the environment through the recovery of valuable raw materials from complex waste streams and the reduction of carbon emissions.

Gijs Derks, Commercial Director in Renewi’s Netherlands Commercial Division, said: 

“PMC’s processing method provides a unique solution for this particular waste stream. Renewi’s ‘waste no more’ vision matches perfectly with the goal behind the collaboration with PMC and its new innovative technique of processing contaminated steel to produce secondary raw materials. 
Through collaboration with PMC, we are not only putting our vision into practice but also underlining our position as the leading waste-to-product company within the construction industry.”

Jan Henk Wijma, Managing Director and co-founder of PMC, said: 

“It’s fantastic to see an idea that we had a number of years ago coming into action. Through working with market leading company such as Renewi, we are able to offer a solution for the collection, transportation and processing of with asbestos-contaminated steel scrap that is both circular and safe. We can then convert this steel into a premium raw material for reuse. This means that we are taking the first big step towards fulfilling our mission of ensuring that absolutely no steel goes into the ground anywhere in the world!” 

Dutch breakthrough in the recycling of contaminated metal

The Dutch recycling company ‘Purified Metal Company’ wants to build a state-of-the-art facility in Delfzijl (The Netherlands), to recycle contaminated steel scrap into high-quality raw material for the steel industry. This novel recycling facility will neutralise most pollution present and brings down CO2-emissions when compared to steel from iron ore.


Delfzijl (The Netherlands), 12 May 2017. With the signing of the land lease agreement between Groningen Seaports and Purified Metal Company this week, the first step is taken towards state-of-the-art metal recycling in North of Holland. The factory covers 3.8 hectares of ground in the immediate vicinity of the recently opened solar panel park.


Purified Metal Company is the first company in the world who developed a patented process to safely recycle steel scrap containing asbestos. In the melting process, the contaminated steel reaches a temperature of 1,500°C (2732°F). Hereby all the hazardous asbestos fibers are broken down into sand, glass and magnesium oxide. The fully-sealed recycling factory is specially designed to guarantee human and environmental safety during the processing and transportation. To further guarantee this safety, only proven and reliable techniques from other sectors are used in the factory.


Groningen Seaports and alderman Rijzebol of the municipality of Delfzijl are very pleased with the arrival of this world-leading factory. "The licensing ensures that this is an unquestionably safe procedure for both the people who work there and the environment. The essence of the circular economy is closing material flows. That fits well in our vision of sustainability. Therefore, we are proud that Purified Metal Company has chosen the location of Delfzijl", says alderman Rijzebol. He continues: "The recycling of steel also has a huge impact on the total CO2-emissions. Therefore, Purified Metal Company fits very well in the Green Harbour Vision 2030. In addition, the creation of 70 jobs is very welcome."


Purified Metal Company is currently in the process of applying for all the necessary permits within the environmental rules and regulations. The Dutch company hopes to start construction before the end of 2017.

About Purified Metal Company
Purified Metal Company is the first company in the world to provide a environmentally- friendly and economically viable method to recycle contaminated steel scrap into high quality raw material for the steel industry. For more information, please visit:    



Note for the editor (not for publication)
The management of Purified Metal Company is available for interviews. Please contact Alexander Duyndam (+31 6-81 85 91 06) to set up an appointment.


Rotterdam, April 15, 2016

The concept engineering of the first plant of PMC has been completed. PMC has worked together with two leading partners towards this goal. Küttner GmbH was responsible for the process and plant engineering and Royal HaskoningDHV conducted the civil engineering part.

Küttner, who has also been involved in the study of the Technical University of Aachen, has expressed full confidence in the process. Thereby Küttner will deliver the plant on a turnkey basis and guarantee the operation of the plant and a clean, free from asbestos scrap product, the Purified Metal Blocks ™.

With the completion of this phase the operating costs of a working factory have been calculated and the level of investment required is known. Also wonderful 3D models have been made of the future plant.

The completion of this phase, showing the feasibility of the PMC process, represents a crucial step towards the realization of the first factory. The insight into the operational costs and the necessary investment have been translated to a solid financial model. These results lead to confidence among local and regional officials and potential investors.


March 2016

The last year Purified Metal Company has entered into a partnership with the Technical University of Aachen. The RWTH Aachen is a leading institute in the field of metallurgy and has a laboratory with furnaces capable of melting up to 500 kg of steel. The purpose of the co-operation was to perform a validation study.

Purified Metal Company has asked the university to examine whether the PMC process is suitable for treating asbestos contaminated steel to assure that asbestos fibers are destroyed and a clean steel product will be produced. Professor Schenk has supervised the project and is known worldwide for his knowledge and holds the chair of Metallurgy of Iron and Steel. He is regarded as one of the most eminent professors in his field.

The results of the study were recently issued by the university. The report is comprehensive, however the content of the report can be summarized as follows:

  • The University RWTH Aachen confirms that the temperatures and conditions in the PMC process ensure decomposition of asbestos fibers;
  • The result of the decomposition, the sand and glass-like product, will for the most part be contained in the slag. This slag arises as a byproduct  during the melting process of the contaminated steel scrap and can be certified as a useful building material after separation from the melt;
  • The liquid steel in the melt is free of impurities and can be used as a useful raw material;
  • During the loading of the furnace asbestos fibers that are being released are captured by an exhaust gas cleaning system. The fibers can be destroyed by means of post-combustion or caught by filtration.

The favorable results of the research are used for the engineering of a plant on an industrial scale. The results of this engineering process are expected soon.