Polyester renewal technology
To drive a more circular economy
right now, we utilize two Advanced Circular Recycling technologies, carbon renewal and polyester renewal, to create value from waste.
Polyester renewal technology, a form of molecular or advanced recycling, allows us to divert a range of polyester plastic waste, which includes materials such as soft drink bottles, carpet, or even polyester-based clothing from landfills and incinerators. This goes beyond clear, single-use water bottles to include products such as colored plastic bottles and carpet fibers.
Eastman’s polyester renewal technology unzips polyesters, using either glycolysis or methanolysis to convert them back to their basic monomers to create new materials. The molecules produced are indistinguishable from materials made with virgin or nonrecycled content. This process, also known as depolymerization, allows us to recycle polyester waste over and over again without degradation over time and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 20%-30% compared to processes using fossil fuels.
Currently, our polyester renewal technology using glycolysis is operational today in Kingsport, Tennessee. The methanolysis process is set to be operational by 2022.
How is polyester renewal technology different from carbon renewal technology?
The two main differences are the type of feedstock, or material input used, and the outputs produced. Polyester renewal technology (PRT) uses polyester plastic, which includes a broad mix of materials like soft drink bottles, carpet, or even polyester-based clothing, whereas carbon renewal technology (CRT) can take a broad mix of plastic waste as process inputs.