Saturday, September 28, 2019

Procter & Gamble and PureCycle Collaborate on Polypropylene Recycling Process

PureCycle Lifecycle (Credit: PureCycle Technologies) Click to Enlarge.
As of 2015 approximately 6,300 million metric tons of plastic waste had been generated, of which only 9% had been recycled, 12% had been incinerated, and 79% had accumulated in landfills or been dumped in the ocean according to a study published in Science Advances.

Procter & Gamble uses a lot of plastic in its business, much of it for containers and packaging.  Many of those containers are made from polypropylene, an especially tough, long-lasting plastic that is hard to recycle.  Even when recycling is attempted, the colors and aromas embedded in the original waste products remain, turning the end product into a gray or black substance that still has a powerful odor to it, which is hardly something other companies are willing to pay good money for.

Working in collaboration with PureCycle Technologies, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Innventure, Procter & Gamble says it has perfected a process that results in recycled polypropylene that is odor-free and snowy white or clear in color — which makes it highly desirable to a range of manufacturers.  The process could potentially be adapted to other hard to recycle plastics.

It involves a decontamination and deodorization process that originated in Procter & Gamble’s laboratory that resulted from the company’s desire to use more recycled content in its products and packaging.

“As we were working toward this goal, we discovered that we can remove color contamination and odor from recycled plastics, which opens the door for broad uses of recycled polypropylene and, in time, other plastics like polyethylene (PE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET),” says John Layman, section head of corporate research and development for P&G.

At scale, PureCycle will be able to process more than 105 million pounds of recycled polypropylene every year.  “We put a lot of recycled content in our packaging today.  And we were wanting to figure out problems involving color, odor and consumer safety,” says Layman.

Read more at Procter & Gamble and PureCycle Collaborate on Polypropylene Recycling Process

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