Origin Materials, Inc., a self-described carbon-negative materials company headquartered in West-Sacramento, California, and Packaging Matters, a manufacturer of packaging solutions have announced plans to develop a new type of packaging based on the next-generation polymer, polyethylene furanoate. PEF, as this material is usually called, is a bio-based polyester that can replace PET in a host of different applications, including barrier packaging.
The new agreement builds on an earlier supply agreement under which Packaging Matters had undertaken to purchase carbon-negative PET from Origin Materials. The company will benefit by, in time, gaining access to a supply of PEF resin, giving it a head-start over its competitors in this area.
Origin Materials’ technology platform can supply molecularly identical replacements for many conventional materials that are normally sourced from petroleum. Over the past 10 years, Origin Materials has developed a platform for turning the carbon found in non-food biomass - in this case, sustainable wood residues - into drop-in polymers and chemical building blocks, while capturing carbon in the process. One of these is 5-chloromethyl furfural, a flexible raw material for many chemistries, including para-xylene, purified terephthalic acid (PTA), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). CMF can also be converted to furandicarboxylic acid - FDCA - which is one of the monomers in PEF.
Origin Materials’ technology platform is expected to produce sustainable carbon-negative FDCA, cost-competitively. The partnership with Packaging Matters will therefore also serve to further the development work for PEF and facilitate the creation of additional novel polymers with performance characteristics that meet the needs of consumers and Packaging Matters’ customers.
In the initial phase of the partnership, Origin Materials will supply sustainable carbon-negative PET to Packaging Matters. As the companies make progress on developing suitable PEF applications, some or potentially all of the supply will transition to sustainable PEF with an expected carbon-negative footprint.
For Packaging Matters, who has worked with PET for 40 years, the collaboration brings the company one step closer to achieving its goal of delivering a carbon neutral packaging solution that drops in seamlessly to the existing recycling infrastructure.
“Packaging Matters has been a pioneer in its use of recycled PET and remains committed to including post-consumer content in its packaging. Yet even with high recycled content, the resin itself represents more than half of the carbon emissions associated with our products. Origin Materials can help solve this problem. By replacing petroleum-based PET with Origin Materials’ sustainable carbon-negative PET and PEF, we aim to create new, better-performing products, with competitive and more stable pricing,” explained Chuck Buff, founder and CEO of Packaging Matters.
Origin Materials’ first plant is expected to be operational in 2022 with a second, full-scale commercial plant expected to be operational by 2025 and plans for additional expansion over the next decade.