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UK: PET Recycling New Technology to Enable Circularity for Unrecyclable PET Plastic Waste

| Editor: Alexander Stark

BP has developed an enhanced recycling technology that enables currently unrecyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic waste to be diverted from landfill or incineration and instead transformed back into new, virgin-quality feedstocks.

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BP has launched an enhanced recycling technology capable of processing PET plastic waste which currently goes unrecycled.
BP has launched an enhanced recycling technology capable of processing PET plastic waste which currently goes unrecycled.
(Source: BP)

London/UK — PET is the most commonly used plastic for beverage and rigid food packaging. Around 27 million tonnes of PET a year are used in these applications globally, with the majority — around 23 million tonnes — used in bottles.

Although PET is one of the most widely recycled types of plastic, less than 60 % of the PET used for bottles is collected for recycling and only 6 % of the total makes it back into new bottles. The rest is either ‘downcycled’, where products are recycled and re-used once before turning into waste, or destined for landfill and incineration.

That it why BP regards its Infinia technology as a game-changer for the recycling of PET plastics. It is designed to turn difficult-to-recycle PET plastic waste — such as black food trays and coloured bottles — into recycled feedstocks that are interchangeable with those made from traditional hydrocarbon sources.

These recycled feedstocks can then be used to make new PET packaging that may be recycled again and again. This could reduce the need for downcycling and divert plastic waste from landfill and incineration.

To prove this new technology, the company plans to build a new pilot plant at its research and development hub in Naperville, Illinois. It is expected to be operational in late 2020 to prove the technology on a continuous basis.

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