WILMINGTON, N.C. - Hoechst Celanese Corp. is pumping up production to near capacity at its 100 million-pound-per-year PET repolymerization plant in Wilmington. ``We're bringing [methanolysis] back up'' after a period in which the recycling process was used only as necessary, said Lewis Morrison, Hoechst's North American commercial director for packaging resins.
Eastman Chemical Co. spokesman Tom Parham said his firm has access to 50 million pounds of methanolysis capacity, which is ``quite a bit more capacity than we can sell. If the market wants it, we will sell it,'' he said.
Methanolysis breaks down polyester into terephthalate and ethylene glycol.
Because methanolysis can divert any polyester product - including seat belts, car interiors and post-industrial waste - from landfills, it is an acceptable process under those state laws that mandate recycling rates and recycled content, Morrison said.
The company is increasing use of the process in part because of the shortage of commonly recycled PET, he noted.
``Our goal is to put less in the landfill. But it's also good economic sense,'' he added.