Recycling: PureCycle, Mitsui advance PP recycling plant in Japan; Saipem, Garbo collaborate on PET recycling and plant in Italy

PureCycle, Mitsui advance PP recycling plant in Japan

PureCycle Technologies and Japan’s Mitsui & Co. Ltd. (Mitsui) have tied up to develop and operate a polypropylene (PP) recycling plant in Japan, targeting Japanese industries like automotive, electronics, and consumer product companies. The two sides are targeting completion of a plant in 2026. The first plant is designed to transform PP waste into an ultra-pure recycled (UPR) resin and expected to have a capacity of 59,000 tonnes/year.

Mitsui is a global trading and investment company with a diversified business portfolio based in Tokyo. In September of 2021, the two sides announced a signed memorandum of understanding.

PureCycle uses a patented technology that can remove virtually all contaminants, colours and odours from polypropylene plastic waste (designated as No.5 plastic) and transform it into an ultra-pure plastic resin that can be used multiple times.

COO of the Performance Materials Business Unit at Mitsui, Hiroshi Kakiuchi, commented, “Mitsui has identified ‘sustainability management and the evolution of ESG’ as key areas of its Corporate Strategy. Through this new joint project with PureCycle, Mitsui aims to contribute to the overall reduction of plastic waste and the establishment of a circular economy in Japan. By securing plastic waste as the raw material, manufacturing recycled polypropylene resin, and expanding the applications of the material for consumer goods, food containers and automobile interiors, Mitsui aims to make a significant contribution to the creation of the more sustainable society.”

This is the latest example of PureCycle’s global-growth strategy. Earlier this year, the company announced the site of its first PP recycling facility in Europe at the Port of Antwerp-Bruges’ Next Gen District in Belgium. PureCycle’s first PP recycling plant in Asia is planned to open in 2025 in South Korea.

Saipem, Garbo collaborate on PET recycling and plant in Italy

‍In other related news, Italian engineering firm Saipem and Garbo, an Italian chemical company, have signed an agreement to support the development and international commercialisation of a technology, named ChemPET. It is Garbo’s proprietary depolymerisation technology that converts PET waste into new PET and, therefore, of high value for the chemical and food industries.

The agreement also provides for Saipem and Garbo to collaborate on the construction on an industrial scale of the first chemical plastic recycling plant in Italy, located in Cerano in the province of Novara.

ChemPET is based on a chemical recycling technology that, unlike the mechanical process, enables the recycling of types of plastics for which no alternative solutions exist today (such as coloured plastics) and produces higher quality material that, in contrast to the mechanical process, does not lose its properties as it is recycled.

ChemPET also allows for a simpler process and by-product management and does not involve the use of flammable or hazardous substances. It therefore represents a solution to the expected growth in demand for recycling of plastics and of PET in particular, also in light of increasingly stringent regulations.

Today, PET is mainly used for the production of bottles and packaging.

Fabrizio Botta, Saipem's Chief Commercial Officer, commented: "This agreement is in line with Saipem's strategy in the low carbon industrial segments and it enables us to enrich our portfolio of technologies and solutions for the circular economy and the sustainable chemical industry.”

Guido Fragiacomo, CEO of Garbo, stated: “This agreement allows ChemPET to consolidate its technology leadership in crPET through the immediate industrialisation of the two 22.5 kTA units in Cerano and the licensing of the technology on a global scale.”


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