A Breakthrough Closed-Loop Recycling Technology to Create New Materials Out of Waste Plastic
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is the world's forth largest plastic polymer by production, with diverse applications such as carpets, textiles, containers, and packaging. Currently, these materials are impossible to recycle because they are complex mixtures of different plastics, additives, dyes, and finishes, so they are burned for energy or disposed of directly in landfills. Ambercycle is a company that has developed a patented chemical technology to extract PET plastic from PET-containing materials, producing a virgin-grade PET pellet that can be used in existing manufacturing processes to make new materials.
Ambercycle has partnered with clothing manufacturer H&M to create "Moral Fiber" - the first textile produced entirely from old clothing. PET-based polyester has far surpassed cotton as the material most commonly used in clothing, so there is the potential to transform millions of tons of waste apparel to raw material for textile production. Ambercycle will build modular recycling units that can be co-located with producers of waste streams and consumers of PET plastics. Their first development partner will be an India textile company that will be able to use the output of their recycled waste to make new materials, creating a closed-loop supply chain. While there is a huge unmet need and market in textiles along, there are broader potential applications in carpets, packaging, and other PET-containing materials and thus, a variety of possible long-term customers and partners. UP is investing in Ambercycle so that they conduct the R&D needed to complete their first joint development agreement and sale.