Recycling: Sumitomo Chemical/Pilot to develop horizontal recycling of products with special ink; Encina to build US$1 bn recycling plant

Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. and Pilot Corporation will jointly develop new recycling technology for decolourising printed layers of plastic packages and containers, which will enable horizontal recycling of plastic products—recycling used plastic products back to products used in similar applications.

Plastic is a useful material that supports people's daily lives and is used in various applications, such as automobiles, aircraft, electronic devices, and packages and containers. Meanwhile, as we work to create a circular economy, it is imperative to advance the development of plastic recycling technology that meets the needs of each application.

In particular, most plastic packages and containers have printing on their surface, and when they are processed after use for material recycling, the ink colours remain, so it is difficult to recycle them back to a material of a sufficient quality level for the same application as the original product.

Sumitomo Chemical/Pilot to develop horizontal recycling of products with special ink border=

In this joint development, Sumitomo Chemical, leveraging the polymer design and processing technology it has cultivated, will work to develop a material recycling process that includes, as its core element, a melt kneading process to make ink decoloured. Pilot will engage The Pilot Ink Co., Ltd., a subsidiary, to work on the development of a special ink suitable for that recycling process by utilising the ink technology the group company has developed and owns.

Through this collaboration, Sumitomo Chemical and Pilot aim to broaden the applications of recycled plastics and further enhance recycling of limited resources. The companies will also consider building a sorting and collection system for plastic packages and containers printed with special ink.

 Encina to build US$1 bn recycling plant

In other news, US firm Encina plans to build a US$1.1 billion manufacturing facility to facilitate the recycling of plastics.

David Roesser, CEO of Encina, said the plant, to be named the Point Township Circular Manufacturing Facility in Pennsylvania, would process 450,000 tonnes/year of recyclable plastic materials each year, diverting plastic recyclables from landfills and away from incinerators. The facility would reduce the need to produce brand new plastic from oil and gas resources by providing a raw material that can be used to make new plastic-type products — in essence, creating a circular, sustainable product cycle.

If the company receives all state and local permitting approvals, the plant will be built on land between Route 11 and the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, near the existing Strong Industries plant, and eventually would create 300 full-time jobs.

"Increasingly, customers are demanding sustainable practices across the product supply chain and life cycle," Roesser said. "The feedstocks we manufacture reduce waste, offset the need to produce virgin materials and help manufacturers achieve carbon-neutral goals as we transition to a circular economy.

"Pennsylvania's access to markets and a skilled workforce presents an ideal opportunity for investment, and we're committed to being an engaged partner as we build long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with the local community and businesses," he said.

Roesser said his company was attracted to Point Township by a variety of factors, including access to rail service along Route 11 as well as an ample water supply from the adjacent river. Other factors included a strong, stable labour force, nearby universities and other educational resources and proximity to recyclable


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