Loop Industries introduces world’s first integrated upcycling process for PET

Loop Industries flow chart graphic

As the next step in commercializing its Generation II technology, Loop Industries, Inc. (Terrebonne, Quebec) is designing a fully integrated manufacturing facility to upcycle waste PET and polyester fiber into virgin-quality Loop PET resin and polyester fiber. Loop is in the process of engaging engineering partners to complete the integrated design.

“A fully integrated start-to-finish process will soon exist to commercialize Loop’s innovative Generation II technology and help tackle the global plastic crisis,” says Daniel Solomita, CEO and Founder of Loop. “These facilities will make it possible for all forms of waste PET and polyester fiber, even ocean plastics that have been degraded by the sun and saltwater, to be fully recovered and upcycled into PET of the highest purity and performance quality.”Loop Industries logo

This integrated innovation will join Loop’s proprietary depolymerization technology with advanced PET production processes, allowing plastic waste to be utilized as feedstock to produce Loop PET resin and facilitate the transition to a circular economy. The technology will take waste PET and polyester fiber that can include PET plastic bottles and packaging of any color, transparency or condition, and carpet and other polyester textiles that may contain colors, dyes or additives and separate the PET from all contaminants to produce virgin quality FDA-approved food-safe Loop PET resin and polyester fiber.

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This decouples plastic from fossil fuels by depolymerizing waste polyester plastic to its base building blocks of monomers that are then repolymerized to create virgin-quality polyester plastic that meets FDA requirements for use in food-grade packaging.

Strategic locations

“To encourage more recycling at the community level and reduce climate causing emissions, Loop facilities are planned to be optimally located adjacent to large population centers where ample feedstock can be found,” states Solomita. 

This integrated manufacturing design will be the basis for Loop’s commercialization strategy, which is now the company’s focus in order to capitalize on its technology and respond to the demands of consumers, governments, non-governmental organizations and brand owners who have committed to ambitious sustainability targets.  

Loop PQLoop Industries’ chief growth officer Nelson Switzer, who was chief sustainability officer for Nestlé Waters North America until joining the company two mmonths ago, tells PlasticsToday,  “we’re currently working with and in discussion with leading engineering firms to assist with some or many of the steps in the development of a chemical facility from basic engineering through to construction. We have not announced a completion date for selecting all partners.”

The source for the materials include are a variety of organizations and provider types from whom we source material and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, according to Switzer. “Examples are Municipal Recycling Facilities (MRFs) reclaimers, recyclers, processors, environmental services companies, manufacturers and more.

“Potential customers of Loop resin and polyester fiber include all users of PET resin and polyester fiber,” he notes. “For instance, these include water bottlers, textile and clothing manufacturers, consumer goods companies that package food, discretionary and cosmetic products and more.  The list is quite extensive.”

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