Unilever To Pioneer PET Waste Conversion Project With Ioniqa
Unilever has announced a partnership with start-up company Ioniqa and Indorama Ventures to pioneer a new technology which converts PET waste back into virgin grade material for use in food packaging.
Ioniqa developed the technology, which has now successfully passed its pilot stage and is moving towards testing at an industrial scale.
In a statement, Unilever said that ‘around 20% of [Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)] material makes its way to recycling plants with the rest either incinerated, disposed of in landfills or leaking into the natural environment’.
The new technology from Ioniqa breaks PET waste down to base molecule level while separating the colour and other contaminants. The molecules are converted back into PET, which is equal to virgin grade quality at Indorama’s facility.
Unilever said that, if proven successful at industrial scale, it will be able to convert all PET back into high quality, food-grade packaging in the future.
David Blanchard, Chief R&D Officer at Unilever, said, “We want all of our packaging to be fit for a world that is circular by design, stepping away from the take-make-dispose model that we currently live in.
“This innovation is particularly exciting because it could unlock one of the major barriers today – making all forms of recycled PET suitable for food packaging. Indeed, making the PET stream fully circular would be a major milestone towards this ambition, not just helping Unilever, but transforming industry at large.”
Tonnis Hooghoudt, Founder and CEO of Ioniqa, added, “To scale up our unique solution for PET plastics, we are delighted to work together with partners like Unilever and Indorama Ventures.
“Through our collaboration, Ioniqa’s innovative technology can turn PET waste into a truly circular material which holds value after disposal by consumers, helping to clean up the planet.”
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Aidan O'Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.