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Eastman Invests in Circular Recycling for Polyester Waste

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Eastman has announced it will pursue the launch of a circular recycling technology that uses polyester waste.

Since it cannot be recycled by current mechanical methods, polyester waste often ends up in landfills and waterways. Eastman utilizes methanolysis for its circular recycling technology, breaking down polyester-based products into the polymer building blocks. The blocks are then reintroduced to the production of new polyester-based polymers; the recycled polyesters are suitable for use in a variety of end markets, such as food contact applications.

Eastman is currently executing an engineering feasibility study on the design and construction of a commercial-scale methanolysis facility. The company aims to operate a full-scale, advanced circular recycling facility within 24 to 36 months.

Related: [podcast] Green Chemistry and Sustainability: A Discussion with James Clark, Ph.D.

“We recognize that plastic waste is a complex problem that needs advanced solutions. As we have engaged potential partners, it is clear there is high interest across the entire value chain,” said Mark Costa, Eastman board chair and CEO. “Our long history of technical expertise in chemical processes, including methanolysis, and our leading position in copolyester chemistry, enables us to provide this innovative solution to address the growing challenges of plastic waste in our environment.”

“We believe we have an obligation to enhance the quality of life in a material way,” added David Golden, senior vice president, chief legal & sustainability officer and corporate secretary. “As the desire grows for products that have a sustainable life cycle, Eastman continues to build on its heritage of world-class technology platforms and product innovation to offer solutions at the molecular level. Today, more than ever, the world needs innovation, and Eastman is excited about the possibilities we can achieve by working along the value chain, across industry sectors and with community partners to expand our efforts and make the greatest collective impact.”