DuPont Teijin Films has launched a new depolymerization process which "upcycles" post-consumer PET waste into technically-advanced biaxially oriented PET films suitable for use in various applications.
The LuxCR process depolymerises mechanically recovered PET flake back into the monomer unit bis (2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalate, which is chemically indistinguishable from virgin monomer.
The base monomer is then repolymerized into a polyester polymer which is subsequently converted into BOPET films, DuPont Teijin Films said in an April 8 announcement.
The process also addresses contamination issues through a combination of monomer and polymer filtration units and by vacuum extraction, which runs for several hours at temperatures between 270-300° C.
Initial commercial launches are planned in the second quarter of 2019, across a range of packaging formats.
Applications will include high temperature food contact such as ready meal lids and “ovenable” flow wrap structures, the company said.
PET polyester films, including the company's Mylar and Melinex series, can be produced using post-consumer recycled content.
DuPont Teijin Films said it is currently discussing the use of the recycled films in other applications such as labels, solar panels and ID cards, among others.
While the primary focus of the recycling process is to provide feedstock to DuPont Teijin Films' own film manufacturing lines, the company is conducting feasibility studies to extend the external sale of the polymer for applications such as PET bottles and trays.
The company is also studying the collection and recycling of its own post-consumer Mylar and Melinex industrial waste directly from customers.
DuPont Teijin Films is a joint venture between DuPont Co. and Teijin Ltd and supplies polyester films and related services to a wide range of industries, including healthcare, alternative energy, electronics and packaging.