Coca-Cola joins innovative PET recycling project

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DEMETO is a project aimed at the development of an industrial scale chemical de-polymerisation process for PET using microwave-based process intensification.

The Coca-Cola Co. has joined the industrial advisory body of DEMETO, a European chemical recycling project for PET.

DEMETO is a project aimed at the development of an industrial scale chemical de-polymerisation process for PET using microwave-based process intensification.

This technology, invented by Swiss company gr3n to enable an effective process intensification of the depolymerisation reaction (hydrolysis) of plastic, is based on the adoption of microwave radiation as energetic catalyser.

It reduces reaction time and the complexity of the purification steps of PTA, and increases the productivity through a continuous process instead of the batch processes typical of the current industrial state of  the art.

With PET plastic waste as input, the outputs generated by the process include the original building blocks of this plastic– EG and PTA – which can consequently be directly reintroduced as raw materials at the virgin-grade production stage.

Unlike mechanical recycling, DEMETO’s technology allows a complete recovery of PET without any degradation of the material. 

Participants in the project, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, include gr3n, as the manufacturer of the Reactive Units, and Processi Innovativi, the EPC contractor responsible for building the full-scale de-polymerisation plants. 

Other participants in DEMETO include ACTOR, DTU, European Outdoor Group, European Plastics Converters (EuPC), Fricke and Mallah GmbH, gr3n, H&M, NEOGROUP, Processi Innovativi, PETCIA, SUPSI, Synesis, and 3V Tech.

“Consumers around the world expect companies like ours to be leaders and help make a litter-free world possible,” commented Maria Luisa Polli, technical director, Coca-Cola Central and Eastern Europe.

“Producing PET from recycled plastic in a sustainable and profitable way is an important step forward. That is why we are thrilled to work with DEMETO and the broader industry to help make new revolutionary technologies available in support of a circular economy,” she added.

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