In an article published on April 4, 2018 by news provider Environmental Leader, editor Emily Holbrook reported that consumer goods company Unilever, Dutch chemicals start-up Ioniqa, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin producer Indorama Ventures (IVL) have entered a collaboration “to develop a food packaging system that converts PET waste into virgin grade material.”

According to IVL, the developed technology is able to break down non-recycled PET waste, including colored bottles, to the level of base molecules. These can then be transformed into PET of quality equal to virgin grade material. Colorants and other contaminants are separated during the process. The technology has successfully passed the pilot stage and will now be tested at industrial scale.

The idea is that “in future it will be possible to convert all PET back into high quality, food-grade packaging,” Holbrook explained. “This fully circular solution could lead to an industry transformation, since the new technology can be repeated indefinitely,” the three companies believe. Unilever expects the “circular PET” to be ready for use by the third quarter of 2019. Sanjeev Das, global packaging director at Unilever, stated: “We want to share what we’re doing with other companies who, like us, are keen to see an end to plastic waste and help in keeping the planet clean.”

Read more

Emily Holbrook (April 4, 2018). “Unilever joins partnership to turn PET waste into virgin grade material.Environmental Leader

Plastic in Packaging (April 4, 2018). “Partnership aims to convert waste into virgin grade material.

Sanjeev Das (April 4, 2018). “How breakthrough technology could significantly reduce plastic waste.Unilever

Anne Marie Mohan (April 5, 2018). “Video: Unilever kickstarts conversion of PET waste to virgin-grade material.Greener Package

Joseph James Whitworth (April 6, 2018). “Unilever explores PET plastic recycling tech for food packaging.Beverage Daily