Plastic Waste is one of the biggest problems facing our global environment today and we possess an economically viable and scalable solution to recyclable plastics into usable polyester. The global demand for PET will reach 73 mtpa in 2020 and is expected to triple by 2050. Currently only 10% of polyester waste is captured for recycling and approximately 8 mtpa enters the oceans, the majority of this value is lost from the economy in the form of single use plastics with a market value of $80-120B. It is predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic waste in the oceans than fish by mass.
This project is a perfect example of the very ethos of GLT where a problem and a potential solution have been identified and a company, with GLT as founding members, spun out to carry out further development and commercialisation. Poseidon Plastics was established in 2018 to develop GLT’s ‘enhanced recycling’ technology which aims to recycle all types and colours of waste polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into recycled PET (erPET). While PET is one of the polymers which can be recycled, generally only the clear bottle fraction is commercially recycled, and as a result a large proportion is currently deemed ‘single-use’ or ‘unrecyclable’ due to their multi-layer or multi-coloured nature or physical appearance (films and fibres). Poseidon’s ‘enhanced recycling’ technology specifically targets the PET wastes which are currently not recycled. Utilising Poseidon’s unique catalyst system and novel purification system, all types of PET waste have been shown to break down to BHET (bis(2-hydroxyethyl terephthalate)) which can be converted into erPET in existing production facilities with properties comparable to those produced from virgin feedstocks. Poseidon aims to recycle PET with near 100% recycle content, far exceeding the plastic packaging initiative to be implemented in 2025.
CTO – Poseidon Plastics
Head of Research