Eastman Chemical Recycling Tech Begins Operation

07 November 2019

Eastman Chemical Co. plans to take up to 50 million pounds of plastic out of the waste stream in 2020, using its newly launched chemical recycling program. The company begun commercial operation of the innovative chemical recycling technology last week in efforts to help solve the world’s plastic waste problem.

Eastman’s carbon renewal technology breaks down waste plastics into molecular building blocks like carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. Carbon renewal technology is a revolutionary for recycling because it provides an end-of-life solution for many plastics from a variety of sources, such as single-use plastics, textiles and carpet, that traditional mechanical recycling methods cannot process. As a result, many of these plastics are landfilled or incinerated. 

“Eastman is a company of problem solvers, and our people have the capabilities to tackle the world’s biggest problems,” said Mark Costa, Board Chair and CEO. “Closing the loop of waste plastics is a complex problem that has to be solved with innovative solutions. With the right people, world-class technologies and our unique vertical integration, Eastman is uniquely positioned to scale up this solution quickly. With carbon renewal technology, we will revolutionize recycling at the molecular level.”

The carbon renewal technology is operated in Kingsport, at the company’s largest manufacturing site and world headquarters. Eastman modified the front end of its acetyls and cellulosics production processes to accept waste plastic, reducing the amount of fossil feedstocks required.
 
In the carbon renewal technology process, waste plastic feedstocks are broken down to the molecular level and then used as building blocks, which are indistinguishable from virgin, to produce products used in Eastman markets, including textiles, cosmetics and personal care, and ophthalmics markets. With carbon renewal technology, waste plastics can be recycled an infinite number of times without degradation of quality. This means recycled materials will have more possible end uses.

Press Release Courtesy of Eastman.