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Depolymerisation process ‘important step forward’

DuPont Teijin Films is the latest plastics manufacturer to announce developments in the innovative world of chemical recycling.

The joint venture company has launched its trademarked LuxCR depolymerisation process that turns post-consumer waste into a variety of technically advanced biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate polyester. This is called BoPET – made from stretched PET – and is known for its high tensile strength, stability, electrical insulation and gas and aroma barrier properties.

‘The use of recycled content is a critical part of DuPont Teijin Films’ circular economy strategy and the up-cycling of PET through the LuxCR process marks an important step forward in the chemical recycling technology for the wider polyester industry,’ the company says.

Traditional limitations

Mechanical recycling is seen as having limitations in terms of the physical and mechanical properties of the recycled product over repeated cycles, and also for food contact compliance.‘The LuxCR process addresses these two issues by depolymerising mechanically recovered PET flake back into the monomer unit BHET which is chemically indistinguishable from virgin monomer,’ DuPont adds.

This base monomer is repolymerised into a polyester polymer that is then converted into BoPET films. Contamination is removed during the process by monomer and polymer filtration units and by vacuum extraction which runs for several hours at temperatures between 270-300°C.

Ready meal application

Early uses of the new material will include high temperature food contact applications such as the lids of ready meals. Commercial launches are planned in this quarter. Studies are underway to test the feasibility of selling the polymer to open up the technology to applications such as PET bottles and trays.

DuPont Teijin Films was established in 2000 as a 50/50 global joint venture combining the polyester film interests of DuPont and Teijin. Its European manufacturing sites are based in Dumfries in Scotland, and Luxembourg with a global innovation centre on Teesside, UK.

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