Taking plastics recycling to a whole new level, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has pioneered a new technology that restores used polypropylene plastic (PP) to ‘virgin-like’ quality. Developed in P&G labs, the patented technology is being licensed to PureCycle to deploy in a new recycling plant in Lawrence County, Ohio and will allow consumers to purchase more products made from recycled plastic.
According to Kathy Fish, P&G’s Chief Technology Officer, the first-of-its-kind technology is capable of removing virtually all contaminants and colors from used plastic and has the potential to revolutionize the plastics industry by enabling companies to “tap into sources of recycled plastics that deliver nearly identical performance and properties as virgin materials in a broad range of applications.”
Founded in 2015, PureCycle is currently the only company with the technology to meet that demand. The global PP market is valued at more than $80 billion, according to Transparency Market research and is on track to reach $133.3 billion by 2023. PP is used in automobile interiors, food and beverage packaging, consumer good packaging, electronics, construction materials, home furnishings and many other products.
“In the U.S. alone, the demand for virgin-quality recycled PP is immense. The Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR) has identified one billion pounds of recycled PP demand in North America alone. 720 million pounds of that demand is for ‘high-quality’ recycled PP,” said Steve Alexander, CEO of the APR.
The company’s small-scale plant is set to begin operating in January 2018 and the full-scale plant will open in 2020.
“This is a case where a hundred-billion-dollar industry required new technology to meet a compelling, unmet need,” said Mike Otworth, CEO of PureCycle Technologies. “Both manufacturers and consumers have signaled a strong preference for recycling plastics, which otherwise pollute oceans, landfills and other natural places. Until now, recycled PP had limited applications. We’re single-handedly removing those limitations and giving companies the choice to use more sustainable, recycled resins.”
P&G plans to make the recycled PP will be available for purchase across industries. The technology will provide a critical role in help P&G attain its 2020 recycling goals, which include doubling the use of recycled resin in plastic packaging and ensuring 90 percent of product packaging is either recyclable or programs are in place to create the ability to recycle it. PureCycle technology supports P&G’s vision of using 100 percent recycled or renewable materials and having zero consumer waste go to landfills.