Today, technology company Honeywell announced that it has devised a new plastics recycling process that advances its vision of a circular plastics economy. The process, titled UpCycle, expands the type of plastics that can be recycled to 90% when used alongside other chemical and mechanical recycling processes and enables hundreds of cycles of recycling. It is also capable of producing recycled feedstock used to make plastics with 57% fewer emissions than plastics produced from fossil fuel feeds.
UpCycle employs molecular conversion, heat-activated decomposition, and contaminants management technology to convert waste plastic to its proprietary “recycled polymer feedstock,” which can then be used to make new plastics. The technology allows types of plastics that typically go unrecycled, including colored, flexible, multilayered packaging and polystyrene, to be processed.
Global plastics industry consultant AMI International estimated that advanced recycling technologies, such as UpCycle Process Technology, could amount to between 5 and 15 million tons of additional plastic waste being recycled per year by 2030.
Sacyr, a Spanish infrastructure operator with operations in more than 20 countries worldwide, will be the first to use Honeywell’s UpCycle technology. The two companies will co-own and operate a facility in Andalusia with a capacity to transform 30,000 metric tons per year of mixed waste plastics into feedstock. Production is expected to begin in 2023.
Back in April, Honeywell committed to carbon neutral operations by 2035 by increasing its share of renewable energy consumption, improving energy efficiency, and remediating land.
Approximately 300 million tons of plastic waste are produced each year. Given the large and increasing scale of the plastic pollution problem, global stakeholders are working toward innovative solutions. One University of Michigan professor is working to develop bioplastics from food waste.
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