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Axens and Toray Films Europe to boost plastic circular economy

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Axens, worldwide provider of technologies, products and services, and Toray Films Europe, market leader in engineering plastics films, have announced their collaboration to study a PET chemical recycling facility at Toray Films Europe's production site in Saint-Maurice-de-Beynost, Ain, France.

New units based on Axens’ Rewind® PET technology will be coupled with Toray Films Europe’s existing polymerisation plant in order to recycle 80 000 tpy of difficult-to-recycle PET plastic waste. Joined efforts of both parties in their domain of expertise will allow the emergence of competencies for chemical recycling circularity.

Post consumer's PET plastic waste that cannot be mechanically recycled and is currently downcycled, incinerated or landfilled, will be converted into high-quality circular PET chips, closing the loop for this material with potentially infinite recycling.

The Rewind PET process, developed by IFP Energies nouvelles, Axens and JEPLAN, involves an optimised - glycolysis based - PET depolymerisation combined with specific purification steps aiming at removing all organic and inorganic compounds present in waste PET, including colorants and pigments. The product is a purified BHET (BHET: Bis(2-HydroxyEthyl) Terephthalate) monomer.

BHET monomer will then be processed in Toray Films Europe's existing continuous polymerisation plant to produce up to 100% recycled transparent food contact PET for films, fibre and bottles applications.

The project is currently in its engineering phase, and targets start-up of the first Rewind PET train leading to an annual production of 30 000 t of recycled PET, by the end of 2025 (Phase 1). With the addition of a second Rewind PET train by the end of the decade, the polymerisation plant will be used at full capacity to produce 100% recycled PET (Phase 2). This investment will create additional direct and indirect jobs at and in relation to the Saint-Maurice-de-Beynost industrial site, benefitting from ideal existing infrastructures, in particular for the waste feedstock supply.

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