While Toray has long recycled its production and post-industrial scrap into the PET film it produces, the company has now further expanded these activities to include the recycling of used PET films from electronics.
The company has established a system for the collection of used films from electronic component applications, which it then reprocesses into PET film, which will then be sold as part of the company’s Ecouse portfolio. Toray began rolling out the Ecouse - pronounced Eco-use - brand for recycled materials and products worldwide in 2015. Full-fledged sales activities for the new product will commence after reaching an annual production capacity of 2,500 tonnes.
PET films are used widely in applications including electronic components, packaging materials, and display items. The wide use of these films offered opportunities for the development of recycling systems, although earlier efforts to do so ran up against the diverse coatings, resins, and other materials used in each process in the supply chain, which considerably hampered the possibility of reprocessing films from these applications back into usable films.
However, the relatively short electronic components supply chain from film production through disposal led Toray to seriously study what was possible. The company partnered with companies across the supply chain in what became a successful effort to build and operate a system to collect and reuse PET film from electronic component applications.
Toray combined a mechanical recycling process, during which coating materials and resins were removed from the film surfaces in a process that involved grinding, washing, separating, drying, re-granulating and compounding, with foreign matter removal techniques for each manufacturing process to enable the material to be reused in films without impairment of their mechanical characteristics or reliability. The new films feature a carbon footprint that is 30-50% smaller than that of Toray’s conventional offerings.
With the launch of this first Ecouse PET film, the company has announced that it will be studying the possibilities for additional recycling systems and manufacturing setups, expanding the collection of PET film beyond electronic components only. The company said it was also looking to expand the use of Ecouse for other series of films and film processed products.