Recycling more plastics: PET packaging
Most of the packaging for food and beverages we use every day is made from the plastics called PET (polyethylene terephthalate). This material is popular because it is lightweight, shatterproof, does not react with food and is resistant to attack by micro-organisms.
Although PET is fully recyclable, only 7% of the PET produced worldwide gets recycled bottle-to-bottle. This is partially due to the fact that the current technology – mechanical recycling – is unable to remove colours from PET waste and also negatively affects the quality of the material after each cycle. This limits the usability of recycled plastics.
Ioniqa’s process uses magnetic fluids to break down PET Polyester waste into its original building blocks (monomers) and to remove the colourant. As a result, these building blocks can compete with the original crude oil-based raw materials in both quality and costs. And this process can be repeated again and again.
Ioniqa’s know-how helps reduce the amount of PET-waste and at the same time makes the industry less dependent on the scarce natural resources like crude oil, which is necessary to make new plastics.
In April 2018 Unilever announced a partnership with Ioniqa and the largest global producer of PET resin Indorama Ventures to pioneer this new technology, which is expected to help Unilever meet its commitment of making all of its plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
Associated SDG targets
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Circular Economy 2.0
In 2015, the European Commission published its Circular Economy package to promote the transition from a linear economy into a circular economy, where resource efficiency is increased and the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible. When a product reaches the end of its life, options such re-use, remanufacturing and recycling can be explored to create additional value. Circular Economy can bring forth economic benefits, by contributing to growth and job creation and stimulating innovation, and in parallel provide environmental benefits.
The European Green Deal is at the heart of the EU’s ambitions of becoming climate neutral. Europe intends to be a world leader in the circular economy and clean technologies. Chemical recycling of end-of-life plastics can fill a key gap in the recycling loop and change the way we approach plastics recycling. Chemical recycling breaks down the plastic into feedstocks and monomers so new chemicals and plastics can be made that are equivalent to those made from fossil resources.
Chemical Recycling: Making Plastics Circular
Welcome to the industry ‘Virtual Exhibition on Chemical Recycling.
Discover how chemical recycling technologies make plastics circular, explore Cefic’s members’ concrete examples.