Glass, metal and plastic can also be recycled and given a new life, but while glass and metal are nearly infinitely recyclable, plastic is a very different and much more challenging story. Solving this challenge and building a more circular economy for plastics requires innovation and joint efforts throughout the supply chain.
Polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, is the most commonly produced plastic and it has many properties that make it an extremely useful material. Plastic bottles are what first comes to mind when mentioning PET. However, while there’s a constant increase in the demand for plastic bottles (more than 1 million plastic bottles are purchased around the globe every minute), the majority of globally produced PET is still used for clothing. Out of the 30.3 million tons of PET produced in 2017, up to 60 per cent was processed to synthetic fibres and only the remaining 30 per cent was used for the production of bottles, according to Rudolf.
Chemical recycling is the chemical depolymerisation (or breaking down) of plastic polymers into their basic building blocks which are then used to make other, different substances and materials. Through the chemical recycling of PET, Rudolf R&D has studied new options which are additional to the traditional bottle-to-bottle recycling. PET plastics can now be recycled to raw materials used as inputs in Rudolf’s manufacturing and therefore partially replacing fossil resources.
Markets and society expect the industry to come up with innovative and constructive solutions to deal with plastic waste that can be complementary to the existing recycling and waste management processes. In order to meet those expectations, Rudolf introduces manufacturing practices and product propositions that position polyester waste as a precious resource rather than an environmental threat.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (GK)