Eastman seeks to commercialize its methanolysis recycling technology

Eastman seeks to commercialize its methanolysis recycling technology

The technology breaks down polyester-based products into their polymer building blocks.

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Leading specialty materials company Eastman, Kingsport, Tennessee, has announced that it will pursue the launch of circular recycling technology that uses polyester scrap that cannot be recycled using mechanical methods currently available. Using the process of methanolysis, Eastman says its technology breaks down polyester-based products into their polymer building blocks, which can be reintroduced to produce new polyester-based polymers.

In a news release announcing the launch, Eastman says it has more than three decades of expertise in methanolysis, making the company “uniquely qualified to be a leader in delivering this solution at commercial scale.”

The technology enables the recycling of low-quality polyester, or polyethylene terephthalate (PET), scrap that would typically be diverted to landfills into high-quality polyesters suitable for use in a variety of end markets, including food-contact applications, according to the company.

“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,” says Mark Costa, Eastman board chair and chief executive officer. “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.”

Eastman says it is executing an engineering feasibility study on the design and construction of a commercial scale methanolysis facility to meet its customers’ demands and has engaged in initial discussions with potential partners across the value chain regarding the development of such a facility. The company’s goal is to be operating a full-scale, circular recycling facility within 24 to 36 months.

The company says its efforts to find new end-of-life solutions to advance the circular economy align with its “innovation-driven growth strategy and commitment to create value through sustainability.”

“We believe we have an obligation to enhance the quality of life in a material way,” says David Golden, senior vice president, chief legal and sustainability officer and corporate secretary for Eastman. “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.”

For more information, visit www.eastman.com/Circular-Economy.