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About 60% of all talc used is recycled in the products that contain it.


Based on the sector’s current market analysis and estimated recycling rates, we can consider that about 60% of all talc used is recycled. This figure is an EU wide average figure and regional disparities do exist. (Source: IMA-Europe mineral recycling sheets, April 2013) Talc, as most industrial minerals, are used in a wide range of applications and end products. Recovering these minerals from their end applications would be technically complicated, time-consuming and ultimately, environmentally unsound. However, although the mineral itself may not be recyclable per se, it may lead a second, third, fourth – or even an infinite number of lives in the case of paper or in others products that contain them. “Recycling” in this context should be understood as defined in the European Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC on waste), as: “any recovery operation by which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances whether for the original or other purposes. It includes the reprocessing of organic material but does not include energy recovery and the reprocessing into materials that are to be used as fuels or for backfilling operations”.

End of life

Having contributed to providing the final product with technical and environmental advantages, talc remains in these products when they are disposed of.

Talc’s chemical inertness ensures it does not become a hazardous contaminant, whatever its final destination.

Talc in recyclable products

In landfill (paper, plastics, coatings)
Talc remains in its matrix as long as the matrix exists. Once the organic matrix has broken down, it becomes an inert component within the landfill.
Garbage is incinerated at 850°C and creates energy, cinder (~50 kg/tonne) and fly ash (~25 kg/tonne} which is collected by electrostatic filters. Talc concentrates mainly in the fly ash, with a small amount in the cinder. Fly ash is often recycled in cement production. It may also be agglomerated with cement and deposited in landfills. Cinders are used for technical ballast, e.g. to build roads. In both states, talc is inert and not leachable.
In soil (sludge from sewage treatment, agricultural uses)
After the break-down of organic components, talc becomes a natural and neutral component of the soils, improves their porosity, thereby helping the development of roots. It has no fertilising effect.
In water (paper recycling, paints, certain agricultural applications)
Water discharge is not a common way to eliminate products containing talc but, in some circumstances, talc can be washed out by rainwater (old weathered paints or fertilisers for instance). In this case, talc is inert and extremely diluted and cannot affect the respiration of water life. Talc joins clays and sand as a normal component of river or sea sediments. It does not contribute to eutrophication.