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Sabic trumpets repolymerisation of PET into resin

Chemical giant Sabic has unveiled a polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) resin made from ocean-bound polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles.

The company says its LNP Elcrin WF0061BiQ resin is a candidate for consumer electronics applications such as fan housings in computers and automotive seating, as well as electrical connectors and enclosures.

The new grade is the latest addition to Sabic’s portfolio of chemically recycled materials which help support circularity while serving as potential drop-in replacements for virgin PBT resins. However, industry observers note that PET bottles are capable of mechanical recycling back into new bottles without that extra energy required for chemical recycling.

‘We’re continually expanding our LNP Elcrin iQ portfolio – and the PET waste streams used to produce these materials – to help divert more plastic from the oceans while helping our customers incorporate recycled materials in their products, achieve their carbon neutrality goals and meet consumer demands for greater sustainability,’ says Sabic’s Sanjay Mishra.

‘Within the next decade, we anticipate upcycling 10 billion plastic bottles into higher-performing, durable materials that deliver enhanced value to customers. Sabic is committed to working with the plastics supply chain to find new solutions to address urgent environmental issues such as reducing ocean-bound plastic waste and achieving net zero carbon emissions.’

SABIC’s proprietary technology, which involves the repolymerisation of ocean-bound PET into PBT, delivers virgin-like performance properties. It says the process surpasses mechanical recycling in quality and consistency.

‘According to an internal life cycle analysis conducted in accordance with ISO 14040/14044 protocols, LNP Elcrin WF0061BiQ compound can offer potential reductions of up to 14% in carbon footprint and up to 25% in cumulative energy demand, when compared to the virgin PBT compound reinforced with glass fibre,’ adds Darpan Parikh, Americas customer fulfilment leader, specialties, Sabic.

‘By replacing virgin material with our resins, customers can help reduce environmental impacts by reusing plastic waste and eliminating halogenated additives.’

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