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Major US recyclers join forces

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Rumpke Waste & Recycling is partnering with major chemical recycler Eastman to recover PET from non-food packaging in the United States.

Later this year, Rumpke will begin collecting and sorting PET packaging waste that is not typically collected in the US, as it in Europe for example.

The entire waste stream will be delivered as feedstock to Eastman’s molecular recycling process. Eastman will then turn this waste stream into virgin quality polyesters to be used across a range of packaging applications.

Huge facility

The announcement comes as Eastman is nearing the start-up of what is said to be the world’s largest chemical recycling facility at its Kingsport, Tennessee site. Set to begin shipping its first products in the coming weeks, the Kingsport plant will eventually recycle 110 000 tonnes of plastic waste annually.

According to Jeff Snyder, director of recycling at Rumpke, ‘This partnership creates a new market for hard-to-recycle coloured and opaque waste that is not currently recycled today.‘

Coloured and opaque PET is used across a range of consumer applications, including personal care and cosmetic packaging, detergent and soap packaging and various dairy and food packaging. In Europe, it is widely recycled by mechanical means.

Helping hand for brands

‘Rumpke and Eastman are both committed to innovative approaches to reducing plastic waste through collaboration,’ says Brad Lich, Eastman executive vice president and chief commercial officer. ‘This partnership reinforces the complementary nature of molecular and mechanical recycling to keep more raw materials in the circular economy enabling brands to meet their recycled content goals.‘

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