Twelve major Japanese companies involved in the plastics supply chain have joined together to invest in a chemical recycling process being developed by US firm Anellotech.
Unlike other chemical recycling processes that use a multi-step process to turn waste plastic into a synthetic oil, Anellotech uses a one-step thermal-catalytic process to convert single-use plastics into basic chemicals such as benzene, toluene, xylenes ethylene and propylene. These can be used to make new plastics.
Anellotech will adapt its process technology Plas-TCat, which will convert mixed plastic waste feedstocks, including composite films and other difficult to recycle materials into basic chemicals (aromatics and olefins) that are already used to make most virgin plastics.
The consortium, known as R Plus Japan includes the following businesses: Suntory MONOZUKURI Expert Ltd. (SME, a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Ltd.), TOYOBO Co. Ltd., Rengo Co. Ltd., Toyo Seikan Group Holdings Ltd., J&T Recycling Corporation, Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., Iwatani Corporation, Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd., Toppan Printing Co. Ltd., Fuji Seal International Inc., Hokkaican Co. Ltd., Yoshino Kogyosho Co. Ltd.
Anellotech chief executive Dave Sudolsky said: “Plas-TCat’s unique ability to directly produce basic chemicals (used today to make most virgin plastics) from mixed plastics waste, at large scale, represents an economically viable and impactful solution to the plastic waste problem.
“We are excited by the opportunities ahead and look forward to collaboration with R Plus Japan in tackling this challenge.”
The process has been trialled by turning a Lay’s potato chips bag para-xylene, which is the primary chemical used to make virgin PET bottles.