Honeywell introduces innovative plastics recycling technology

The company says the upcycle process technology expands the types of plastics that can be recycled.

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Plastic Recycling
November 3 2021
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Honeywell announced the commercialization of a revolutionary process that expands the types of plastics that can be recycled and can produce feedstock used to make recycled plastics with a lower carbon footprint. The new technology can reduce the need for fossil fuels in the creation of virgin plastics while enabling hundreds of cycles of recycling, with the goal of enabling a circular economy for plastics.

The company’s UpCycle Process Technology utilises molecular conversion, pyrolysis, and contaminants management technology to convert waste plastic back to recycled polymer feedstock, which is then used to create new plastics. The upcycle process technology expands the types of plastics that can be recycled to include waste plastic that would otherwise not be recycled, including colored, flexible, multilayered packaging and polystyrene, as per the statement. When used in conjunction with other chemical and mechanical recycling processes, along with improvements to collection and sorting, this new technology has the potential to increase the amount of global plastic waste that can be recycled to 90 percent, as per the statement. 

According to a study published by AMI International in September 2020, waste plastics processed through advanced recycling technologies, such as Upcycle Process Technology, could amount to between 5 and 15 million tons of additional plastic scrap being recycled per year by 2030.

"Plastics play an important role in our society, including expanding the shelf life of food and making vehicles lighter, which reduces their emissions. Unfortunately, only a fraction of plastics today can be successfully recycled," said Vimal Kapur, President and Chief Executive Officer of Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies. "Honeywell's UpCycle process helps fix this problem. By broadening the types of plastic that can be recycled, UpCycle will revolutionize the plastics economy and play a critical role in improving the sustainability of many of the products we use on a daily basis."

Sacyr, a Spain-based global engineering and services company with operations in more than 20 countries worldwide, will be the first to deploy Honeywell's proprietary UpCycle Process Technology. Honeywell and Sacyr will form a joint venture where the two companies will co-own and operate a facility in Andalucía, in Southern Spain, with a capacity to transform 30,000 metric tons per year of mixed waste plastics into Honeywell Recycled Polymer Feedstock. Production is expected to begin in 2023.

Honeywell said, partnering with companies that have waste management experience such as Sacyr allows the company to help close the loop within the plastics supply chain by bringing the recycling technology onsite to the collection source. The recycling plants employ a modular design, enabling straightforward deployment and installation, striking the right balance between economy of scale and amount of waste plastic generated locally.

"Our partnership with Honeywell will enable Sacyr to bring sustainable, circular solutions to market," said Domingo Jiménez, Manager of Sacyr Circular. "The speed with which we can start up plants and the global viability of this solution has the potential to greatly accelerate the impact we can have on the communities we serve, the environment, and society as a whole."

Honeywell's UpCycle Process Technology was created within the company’s Sustainable Technology Solutions (STS) group, which is part of Honeywell UOP.


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