Carbon renewal technology

At Eastman, we’re dedicated to advancing a circular economy that creates value from material waste. To do this, we use two molecular recycling technologies: carbon renewal and polyester renewal.

Carbon renewal technology (CRT), a type of molecular or advanced recycling, gives new life to the most complex plastic waste. It can recycle most plastics (with the exception of PVC) — many of which cannot be recycled with traditional mechanical recycling methods.

CRT takes a wide variety of mixed plastic waste and breaks it back down into its molecular building blocks, allowing the molecules to be reassembled to build new products. This allows materials to be recycled an infinite number of times — unlike mechanical recycling — with no compromise or loss of quality.

Carbon renewal graphic

CRT provides a circular solution for materials that currently can’t be recycled, keeping them in use and out of landfills and incinerators. Better yet, the process reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 20%–50% at the intermediate level when compared to processes using fossil fuels. Also, the end products are identical to those produced with virgin content.

Read the life cycle assessment summary on our CRT and take a deeper dive into our detailed technical report.

Real, scalable solutions

Industrial and pre-consumer scrap, like leftover material from the production of eyeglasses, feeds into the process, closing the loop on the mixed-plastic life cycle.

The plastic waste problem is complex, and we know we can’t change the world alone. That’s why we are actively partnering at local, regional and global levels with those who have a shared vision to solve the plastic waste crisis while addressing the climate crisis.

Through partnerships with companies and organizations such as Circular Polymers and the Carpet America Recovery Effort, we are helping establish a process to reclaim carpet from homes and businesses. Every year, more than 3 billion pounds of carpet is put into landfills. To provide an end-of-life solution for carpet, we collaborated with California-based Circular Polymers. Circular Polymers reclaims, processes and compacts old carpet — making the carpet easy to ship — and sends it to Eastman. We recycle the carpet with our CRT, keeping it out of landfills and giving it an infinite life.

Carbon vs. polyester renewal technology

The differences between CRT and polyester renewal technology (PRT) are the type of feedstock, or material input used, and the outputs produced. CRT can process a broad mix of plastic waste — all types except PVC — to use as inputs. PRT uses polyester materials as the process input.

Molecular recycling chart

Our team is committed to actively collaborating with companies, experts, policymakers and members of the value chain to create policies and standards and build systems that preserve our natural resources and accelerate a circular economy.