Eastman to Launch Advanced Circular Recycling Technology

Through the methanolysis process, polyester-based waste products are broken down to their building blocks which can be reintroduced for new polyester-based polymer production.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I reported that in pursuing solutions that contribute to the circular economy and sustainable development, polyolefins resin supplier recycling" target="_self">Braskem had formed new partnerships to accelerate the development of chemical recycling of consumer products such as grocery bags, and packaging films for snacks and cookies.

On March 5,Eastman Chemical announced plans to launch an advanced circular recycling technology that uses polyester waste which cannot be recycled by current mechanical methods. Moreover, the company’s goal is to be operating a full-scale, advanced circular recycling facility within 24 to 36 months.

Eastman has been a pioneer in developing methanolysis technology at commercial scale and has more than three decades of expertise in this innovative recycling process. Using the process of methanolysis, Eastman’s technology breaks down polyester-based products into their polymer building blocks—monomers—which can then be reintroduced to the production of new polyester-based polymers, delivering a true circular solution.

Said Mark Costa, Eastman’s Board Chair, “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. 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.”

Advanced circular recycling technology can be an especially impactful solution, as low-quality polyester waste that would typically be diverted to landfills can instead be recycled into high-quality polyesters suitable for use in a variety of end markets, including food contact applications.

Eastman is currently executing an engineering feasibility study on the design and construction of a commercial-scale methanolysis facility and has engaged in initial discussions with potential partners across the value chain on its development.

Eastman’s efforts to find new end-of-life solutions to advance the circular economy align with the company’s innovation-driven growth strategy and commitment to create value through sustainability. Said David Golden, Senior Vice President, Chief Legal & Sustainability Officer, and Corporate Secretary, “We believe we have an obligation to enhance the quality of life in a material way. 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.”