Over the last few years, plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues facing our planet. If business continues as usual, the World Wide Fund for Nature predicts that, by 2030, the amount of plastic pollution on the planet will double, with oceans the most visibly affected.
Restructuring the Recycling Market
PureCycle Technologies has acquired a global license to commercialize the only patented solvent-based purification recycling technology for restoring waste polypropylene into virgin-like resin called ultra-pure recycled polypropylene (UPRP). Unlike existing recycling processes that result in poor-quality plastic unsuitable for food packaging, the PureCycle innovation allows the renewal of recycled polypropylene so that it becomes almost indistinguishable from unused plastic.
This technology, which was developed by consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, permits the removal of virtually all impurities and residual dyes from recycled plastics. At the same time, the performance and properties are almost the same as in new materials. The process is both more cost efficient and environmentally sustainable than the traditional manufacturing process of producing virgin polypropylene, utilizing approximately 75% less energy. What’s more, PureCycle intends to obtain a letter of no objection from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its product to be used in food-grade applications.
An Attractive Proposition
With all this in mind, it’s easy to see how PureCycle’s UPRP has already attracted huge interest from global businesses. As a result of this strong demand, PureCycle has contracted pricing for its UPRP that is both de-linked from commodity pricing and at a premium to virgin polypropylene resin.
LEDC (Lawrence Economic Development Corporation) acquired and developed the property where PureCycle islocated – a rehabilitated former DOW Chemicals facility -with the help of two JobsOhio pilot redevelopment projects. To help it on its way, JobsOhio has provided a $750,000 revitalization grant that contributed towards PureCycle’s first commercial-scale plant in Ironton, Ohio. Production is expected to commence in late 2022 with full capacity expected to be achieved in 2023.
With the financing of the first plant complete, PureCycle is able to accelerate its long-term growth strategy, and the company intends to build recycling production facilities globally. Production from the Ironton, Europe, and cluster sites are expected to bring over 1.2 billion pounds of annual recycled polypropylene to the market in the next five years.