European PET value chain association Petcore Europe has launched a special industry group (SIG) to advance the monomer recycling of PET.
The recycling process involves breaking down PET bottles and food containers as well as polyester textiles into their constituents: monomers or low molecular weight components.
The process allows the “endless re-use” of PET building blocks and, unlike with mechanical recycling, the quality of obtained products is not affected by colours, additives and other polymers in multi-layer constructions.
“Monomer recycling avoids down-cycling and allows up-cycling, it is circularity,” said Petcore Europe in a 17 July statement.
The mission of the new group is to facilitate a platform to position PET monomer recycling as a viable addition to the established mechanical recycling process, according to Christian Crépet, Executive Director of Petcore Europe.
The group will use Petcore’s network and outreach to interact with legislators, regulators, NGOs and other stakeholders to establish chemical recycling of PET as "an acceptable business and fulfils the future requirements of business environment.”
"PET monomer recycling has the potential to double recycled content rates. With only mechanically recycled PET, rates of 30% are the limit, at higher levels of r-PET content the quality of bottles and trays decreases,” explained Wim Hoenderdaal, chairman of the new special industry group.
The combination of monomer recycling and mechanical recycling, according to Hoenderdaal, can make recycled content of 70 to 80% feasible on a sustainable basis.