According to The Nikkei Asia, a Japanese startup will soon bring online a refurbished plant that it claims is the world's sole facility for chemical recycling of plastic bottles.
JEPLAN's plant in Kawasaki uses chemical recycling, in which used plastic bottles are chemically reduced into monomers -- or molecules that can be bonded other identical molecules to form a polymer. This contrasts with traditional recycling, where plastic bottles are washed and melted.
"The same material can be recycled over and over again," says JEPLAN CEO Masaki Takao.
PET Refine Technology, a subsidiary of container manufacturer Toyo Seikan, had operated the Kawasaki complex since 2009 but it stopped running in 2017. JEPLAN acquired PET Refine Technology in 2018 and began preparations to restart the facility, which includes steel towers, warehouses and silos on roughly 50,000 sq. meters of land.
After starting trial operations this month, the plant is slated to go fully online this summer. It is expected to churn out 20,000 tons of plastic bottle materials a year. JEPLAN will team up with Asahi Soft Drinks and trading house Sojitz on mass production and hopes to eventually market the system abroad.
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