Eastman Chemical Co. has unveiled what it calls a "breakthrough" technology to process non-polyester and mixed plastics that cannot be recycled with conventional technologies.
Carbon Renewal Technology involves modifying the front end of Eastman's cellulosics production stream and transforming plastic waste back to simple molecular components.
The technology partially oxidizes the waste plastic, converting the feedstock input derived from flexible packaging and plastic films waste into "the basic building blocks of Eastman's cellulosics product lines."
The technology produces feedstock suitable for applications in ophthalmics, durables, packaging, and nonwovens.
Eastman has completed pilot tests at its Kingsport, Tenn., headquarters site and plans commercial production in 2019 by leveraging existing assets.
The company is actively seeking partners to help expand the capacity of its recycling solutions.
The new technology follows the launch in March of Eastman's Advanced Circular Recycling technology, which involves methanolysis, where polyester materials are taken back to their polymer building blocks.
These building blocks can then be reintroduced to the production of new polyester-based polymers, Eastman said in an April 3 statement.
The technology can be particularly useful for the recycling of low-quality polyester waste that would typically be diverted to landfills.
The process, Eastman claims, can recycle the low-quality polyester into high-quality polymers suitable for use in a variety of end markets, including food contact applications.