Coca-Cola Company to extend loan for novel PET recycling technology

Article by Amanda Jasi

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THE Coca-Cola Company has announced an agreement extending a loan to Ioniqa Technologies, a startup company based in the Netherlands. The agreement is expected to accelerate the scaleup of Ioniqa’s polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling technology.

PET is widely used to produce plastic packaging but is hard to recycle and only around 20% of the material is recycled. The remaining amount is incinerated, sent to landfills, or leaks into the natural environment. Ioniqa has developed a proprietary technology that can convert PET-containing waste into purified polymer building blocks that can be reformed into high-quality PET. Earlier this year Unilever partnered up with Ioniqa and Indorama Ventures, the largest producer of PET resin, to scaleup the technology.

The new agreement is designed to accelerate the development and deployment of the recycling technology and enable the recycled PET to be used in bottles used by The Coca-Cola Company.

Coca-Cola’s investment supports its global vision, a World Without Waste. The holistic plan includes a goal to create packaging made of at least 50% recycled material by 2030.

Ioniqa’s technology supports a circular economy for plastics. A circular economy is one in which resources are kept in use for as long as possible. This technology will allow packaging, such as PET bottles, that may have been excluded from certain recycling streams to be recycled into food-grade quality packaging.   

Robert Long, chief innovation officer of The Coca-Cola Company, said: “Our investment in new and pioneering recycling technologies is an opportunity for significant movement toward closing the loop and creating a circular economy for PET.” He added that the company plans “to continue investment in developing the right partnerships and initiatives – like with Ioniqa – to support our vision of a World Without Waste.”

Tonnis Hooghoudt, CEO of Ioniqa, said: “Partnering with The Coca-Cola Company is a further validation of our journey to launch this unique process for transforming hard-to-recycle PET waste into high-quality, food-grade material.”

Ioniqa’s technology has been validated at demonstration scale and a 10,000 t/y industrial plant is under construction in the Netherlands. Commissioning is expected in 2019.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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