As part of the ongoing work to maximize the recyclability of its polymers, Eastman Chemical Company has teamed with DSI Plastics to develop a new regrinding and reuse stream for Eastman Tritan copolyester and its other copolyester materials, including Eastar and Durastar.
DSI is an innovative designer and integrated producer of plastic solutions and has found that Tritan — a new-generation copolyester resin — and other amorphous and crystalline copolyesters are very suitable for inclusion in the building and construction market for products such as farm flooring and walls.
“Improving polymer recycling is a major issue in our European, Middle East and African markets,” said Godefroy Motte, chief sustainability officer, Eastman. “In fact, Circular Economy is a key component of Eastman’s priorities in Sustainability. Collaborating with innovators such as DSI Plastics, to make better products and improve the recycling of all products, opens opportunities for more sustainable solutions and better results for the generations to come.”
The culmination of a four-year project, the launch of this new copolyester recycling application introduces new potential for Eastman Tritan copolyester in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling. The initiative — which could benefit all manufacturers, molders and appliance producers using Tritan, as well as consumers and collection facilities — adds further weight to its favorable life cycle assessment and contributes to Eastman’s recyclability goals.
With pressure on plastics molders and product manufacturers to find channels to sustainably dispose of consumer products and molding and manufacturing waste, the initiative Eastman and DSI have undertaken comes as welcome progress and a viable alternative to incineration or landfill.
“We identified that there is excellent potential in incorporating reground copolyester resins in walls that separate animal pens, farm flooring and transport solutions products,” said Greg Dubly, General Manager at DSI Plastics. “Our newly developed and flexible process can take material from a wide range of sources. Now that we have established an identified market for Eastman Tritan and other copolyester regrind, waste collectors will be prepared to sort and handle it at economic rates.”
Typical Eastman Tritan copolyester products being positioned for recycling include industrial 20-liter, or 5-gallon, bulk water containers and a variety of small appliances. If the animal pen walls are commercially successful, DSI plans to use 300 MT of Eastman product per year. To support future growth, DSI has the capacity to add volume for future projects.
“The products that have been developed using Eastman Tritan copolyester are hygienic, durable and easy-to-clean internal walls and flooring for pens intended for farm animals, such as pigs,” continues Mr. Dubly. “We have developed a tool to demonstrate the versatility of the application, which is not subject to UV degradation. The final color is not important to the walls or flooring, so the raw material can be transparent, colored or even opaque.”
DSI recently collaborated with I-TEK, a leading company in the interior pig equipment industry, to develop and manufacture a new plastic slat that sits underneath the sows’ crates. Compared to existing products in the marketplace, this new slat provides pig farmers with improved productivity and better sanitary benefits.
“Eastman Tritan copolyester is the ideal material to use as a regrind in our plastic products,” said Olivier Nicolas, director at I-TEK. “We’ve been working with DSI since 1992, and it’s beneficial to continue to see the innovative products, such as the new plastic slat, that come from our partnership.”
Although the new process is designed primarily for clean post-recycling industrial and consumer amorphous copolyester, it can also handle a small percentage of other polymers such as polycarbonate and polypropylene with usual variations in waste material quality.
For more information about Eastman Tritan™ copolyester, visit www.eastman.com or www.eastman.com/tritan.
Filed Under: Materials • advanced