A new process to recycle plastics
A new process to recycle plastics
Honeywell, a Fortune 100 technology company, has commercialised a revolutionary process that expands the types of plastics that can be recycled. This can produce feedstock used to make recycled plastics with a lower carbon footprint. The new technology can reduce the need for fossil fuels in the creation of virgin plastics while enabling hundreds of cycles of recycling, to enable a circular economy for plastics.
According to the company, the UpCycle Process Technology uses molecular conversion, pyrolysis and contaminants management technology to convert waste plastic back to Honeywell Recycled Polymer Feedstock, which it claims can then be used to create new plastics.
The UpCycle Process Technology expands the types of plastics that can be recycled to include waste plastic that would otherwise go unrecycled, including coloured, flexible, multilayered packaging and polystyrene. When used in conjunction with other chemical and mechanical recycling processes – along with improvements to collection and sorting – Honeywell’s UpCycle Process Technology has the potential to increase the amount of global plastic waste that can be recycled to 90%.
“Plastics play an important role in our society, including expanding the shelf life of food and making vehicles lighter, which reduces their emissions. Unfortunately, only a fraction of plastics today can be successfully recycled,” says Vimal Kapur, president and chief executive officer of Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies. “Honeywell’s UpCycle process helps fix this problem. By broadening the types of plastic that can be recycled, UpCycle will revolutionise the plastics economy and play a critical role in improving the sustainability of many of the products we use daily.”
According to Honeywell’s “Life Cycle Analysis” conducted during October 2021, recycled plastics produced via UpCycle Process Technology can result in a 57% reduction of CO2-equivalent (CO2e) emissions compared with the production of the same amount of virgin plastic from fossil feeds. The process also reduces CO2e emissions by 77% compared with conventional modes of handling waste plastic, such as incineration and landfilling.
Sacyr, a Spain-based global engineering and services company with operations in more than 20 countries worldwide, will be the first to deploy Honeywell’s proprietary UpCycle Process Technology. Honeywell and Sacyr will form a joint venture where the two companies will co-own and operate a facility in Andalucía, in Southern Spain, with a capacity to transform 30 000 tonnes per year of mixed waste plastics into Honeywell Recycled Polymer Feedstock. Production is expected to begin in 2023.
Partnering with companies that have waste management experience such as Sacyr allows Honeywell to help close the loop within the plastics supply chain by bringing the recycling technology onsite to the collection source. The recycling plants employ a modular design, enabling straightforward deployment and installation.
“Our partnership with Honeywell will enable Sacyr to bring sustainable, circular solutions to market,” says Domingo Jiménez, manager of Sacyr Circular. “The speed with which we can start up plants and the global viability of this solution has the potential to greatly accelerate the impact we can have on the communities we serve, the environment and society as a whole.”