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4/11/2018 | 2 MINUTE READ

New Technology Converts PET Waste To Virgin-Grade Material

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Start-up company Ioniqa has developed a proprietary technology that is reportedly able to convert any PET waste back into transparent virgin grade material.

A novel new technology is said to convert PET waste back into virgin grade material for use in food packaging. Consumer goods company Unilever, the start-up company Ioniqa, a spin-off from the Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands and the largest global producer of PET resin Indorama Ventures are working together to pioneer this new technology.

Ioniqa has reportedly developed a proprietary technology that is able to convert any PET waste - including colored packs - back into transparent virgin grade material. The technology has successfully passed its pilot stage and is now moving toward testing at an industrial scale.

Ioniqa’s new technology takes non-recycled PET waste - like colored bottles - and breaks it down to base molecule level, while separating the color and other contaminants. The molecules are converted back into PET which is equal to virgin grade quality at Indorama’s facility, the companies stated.

If proven successful at industrial scale, in the future it will be possible to convert all PET back into high quality, food-grade packaging. The three partnering companies believe that this fully circular solution could lead to an industry transformation, since the new technology can be repeated indefinitely.

In 2017, Unilever committed to all its plastic packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Chief R&D Officer David Blanchard said that Unilever is proud to support another sustainable packaging innovation.

David Blanchard said: “We want all of our packaging to be fit for a world that is circular by design, stepping away from the take-make-dispose model that we currently live in. This innovation is particularly exciting because it could unlock one of the major barriers today – making all forms of recycled PET suitable for food packaging. Indeed, making the PET stream fully circular would be a major milestone towards this ambition, not just helping Unilever, but transforming industry at large.”

Aloke Lohia, group CEO of Indorama Ventures added: “We aspire to be a world-class chemical company making great products for society, and this partnership is fully aligned with our vision. Our approach is not limited to our own operations, but we take the entire supply chain into account, including what happens to our products after use. We therefore look forward to working closely with Unilever and Ioniqa to leverage this state-of-the-art technology that contributes to tackling the global issue of waste, and enables us to go beyond the role of a polymer manufacturer.”

Tonnis Hooghoudt, founder and CEO of Ioniqa summed up by stating: “To scale up our unique solution for PET plastics, we are delighted to work together with partners like Unilever and Indorama Ventures. Through our collaboration, Ioniqa’s innovative technology can turn PET waste into a truly circular material which holds value after disposal by consumers, helping to clean up the planet.”