Eastman Begins Plastics Recycling Operation

Eastman, Kingsport, Tenn., recently started up a commercial operation for its chemical recycling technology, which breaks down waste plastics into molecular building blocks that are indistinguishable from virgin including carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. This carbon renewal technology offers an end-of-life solution for a variety of plastics all from different sources — including single-use plastics, textiles and carpets — that are difficult to recycle using traditional mechanical recycling methods. The waste plastics may be recycled an infinite number of times with no quality degredation. Eastman reports it expects to consume up to 50 million pounds of waste plastic in the operation in 2020, and already has plans underway to expand that amount.

“The problem of waste plastics is not one that can be solved by a single company, but Eastman is taking definitive action to do our part,” said Mark Costa board chair and CEO, Eastman.

In related company news, Eastman has partnered with Circular Polymers, Lincoln, Calif., to secure a consistent source of feedstock for its carbon renewal technology. Circular Polymers will collect polyester carpet from homes and business and separate
the fiber from the backing before sending it to Eastman, which will recycle the fiber and convert it into new materials.

November/December 2019