​Sustainable polymers provider addresses potential shortage of recycled feedstock

KINGSPORT, Tennessee

Global specialty plastics provider Eastman addresses the increasing demand for recycled materials at the 2020 Plastics Recycling Conference and Trade Show held in Nashville, Feb. 17-19. The 15th annual event brings together the world's leading sustainability voices to discuss complex issues facing the plastics recycling industry. Holli Alexander, Eastman's strategic initiative manager of global sustainability, will participate in a roundtable discussion at the closing session entitled "How to Tackle The Supply-Demand Gap."

"At Eastman, we've pioneered recycling technologies that will define the circular economy for years to come," Alexander said. "Our goal is to work across the value chain to find viable solutions to scale these innovations. Sourcing recycled feedstock presents both a challenge and an opportunity for our channel partners and for the entire industry."

Eastman announced two major recycling initiatives last year. Carbon renewal technology (CRT) is a chemical recycling process that diverts mixed waste plastic from landfills and converts it into simple molecular components that are then reintroduced in the production of a variety of Eastman products. CRT is now operating at scale. In fact, Eastman struck a deal in November 2019 to source feedstock from Circular Polymers, a post-consumer waste reclaimer. The collaboration will divert millions of pounds of discarded carpet from landfills in its first year, according to Mark Costa, Eastman board chair and CEO.

Eastman's second recycling innovation, polyester renewal technology (PRT), formerly known as advanced circular recycling, is a chemical recycling process specifically for polyester waste, including colored PET and copolyesters, which produces virgin-like materials. The first phase of PRT uses glycolysis to disassemble waste PET into its fundamental building blocks, which are then used to produce new polyesters with high levels of recycled content achieved through certified mass balance allocation. A later phase of PRT using methanol to break down a wide variety of waste polyesters will be fully operational by 2022.

The company is leveraging these innovative Advanced Circular Recycling technologies for applications in cosmetics, food and beverage packaging and in its full line of resins for shrink films, including their APR-approved Eastman Embrace Encore™ and Eastman Embrace Float™ copolyesters. With both CRT and PRT, hard-to-recycle plastics can be recycled an infinite number of times to create products that can claim high levels of certified recycled content, creating a closed loop.

At the Plastics Recycling Conference, Alexander will join other sustainability experts to identify possible policy frameworks and market-based strategies that could ensure supply/demand balance as brands seek to move forward with plans to increase their consumption of recycled plastics.

Visit Booth 914 to learn more about Eastman's solutions for plastics recycling.

About Eastman

Eastman is a global specialty materials company that leverages innovation, technology and application development to grow its leading positions in end-markets such as agriculture, transportation, building and construction, and consumables.

About Eastman in the circular economy: In 2019, Eastman became the first company to begin commercial-scale chemical recycling for a broad set of waste plastics that would otherwise be landfilled or, worse, wind up in the environment. Eastman Advanced Circular Recycling technologies will be able to process waste plastics traditional mechanical recycling methods cannot, providing a true circular solution of endless recycling for materials, and allowing them to be reused repeatedly. For more information, visit eastman.eco.

Editorial Contact:

Laura Mansfield, APR
+1 (865) 599.9968