The problem of coloured waste streams
According to the company, one particular benefit of the technology is its ability to efficiently deal with coloured bottles. Current polyester recycling methods on the market require a relatively clean waste stream of clear or light blue polyester bottles. For this reason, it points out, it is not often economically viable to recycle coloured or mixed polyesters. This means a lot of coloured plastic waste will still end up in landfill or incineration.
“It enables a continuous polyester recycling process for various contaminated polyester waste streams – including packaging materials and textile products – and cleans the original plastic material of contaminants and colour.”
The CuRe project kicks off with a pilot plant to test the technical financial and sustainability of the new solution. This line is expected to be operational by summer 2019.
Following this, Cumapol says it will need two years to develop the technology on the new pilot line. Existing polymerisation lines will then need to be re-built with, according to the company, a capacity of 25kton/year with the option for global licensing.