Molecular recycling: an infinite solution to end plastic waste

The world has a plastic waste crisis that has been growing for decades. The need for plastic products has outpaced our ability to recycle them.

The world has a plastic waste crisis that has been growing for decades. The need for plastic products has outpaced our ability to recycle them. Of the 300 million tonnes of plastic produced annually, less than 15 per cent is recycled. However, innovation of recycling technologies and infrastructure can drive circular materials to become mainstream and make plastic waste a thing of the past.

Eastman is dedicated to innovating recycling technologies to produce products that are more sustainable and without a compromise in performance. Our molecular recycling technologies can provide an infinite lifespan – a truly circular solution – for waste materials that were previously destined to end up in landfills, incinerators or waterways. These technologies can process materials that cannot be recycled by traditional, also known as mechanical, recycling methods by breaking down waste into its molecular building blocks and rebuilding it into new materials.

We’re a global materials innovation company, but more than that we’re a people company. And our people, driven by a purpose to enhance the quality of life in a material way, are working to accelerate a circular economy through innovation. Eastman believes molecular recycling is an essential element to creating a true circular economy. Molecular recycling allows us to break down hard-to-recycle plastics, reduce our carbon footprint and leave fossil-based resources in the ground.

Steve Crawford, Senior VP of Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer at Eastman

Sustainability without compromise

Eastman believes the right material should be used for the right application. And, given its performance and light weight, plastic is the right material for many applications, including containers that provide safe drinking water for people around the globe, medical equipment, and packaging or containers that enable food storage and longevity.

As a maker of mostly durable plastic products intended for long-term use, Eastman’s commitment to circular materials is grounded in the belief that plastic and textile waste should not only be reduced and reused but reinvented over and over again.

The company has two molecular recycling technologies operating at a commercial scale for more than a year, delivering sustainable change now with real environmental benefits. These technologies show 20 to 50 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions in the production of key building blocks compared to processes that use fossil resources.

Some of the world’s leading brands – including H&M, Estée Lauder, Nalgene, Snips, Williams Sonoma and others – are choosing Eastman Renew for a more sustainable choice without compromising the performance they rely on.

Collaboration is key to a recycling revolution

To solve the plastic waste crisis, it’s going to take a recycling revolution – and we know one company cannot do it alone. Eastman’s molecular recycling technologies complement traditional recycling, which processes the most basic plastics and does so efficiently. Where traditional recycling methods can be used, they should. But both traditional and molecular recycling are needed to eliminate waste and create a circular economy.

Eastman is collaborating with organisations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, policymakers, our value chain, and others with a shared vision for a more sustainable future. Working together, we can advance the acceptance and implementation of circular economy solutions, technologies and concepts – creating new ways to make durable materials from plastic waste and preserve our world’s natural resources.

Are you ready for a recycling revolution? Partner with us today.