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Loop Industries is Scaling Up its “Virgin-Quality” Recycled PET

Loop Industries is drafting a “fully integrated” manufacturing facility that will upcycle waste polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is typically found in plastic water bottles, into as-good-as-virgin PET resin and polyester fiber, the company announced last week.

The Quebec-based innovation technology firm, which claims to be the only company in the world that can create virgin-quality plastic with zero energy input, is in the process of engaging engineering partners to complete the design, according to Daniel Solomit, its CEO and founder.

“A fully integrated start-to-finish process will soon exist to commercialize Loop’s innovative Generation II technology and help tackle the global plastic crisis,” Solomita said. “These facilities will make it possible for all forms of waste PET and polyester fiber, even ocean plastics that have been degraded by the sun and saltwater, to be fully recovered and upcycled into PET of the highest purity and performance quality.”

The proposed plant will marry Loop’s proprietary depolymerization technology with “state of the art” PET production processes to separate PET bottles and packaging, carpet and other polyester-based textiles from contaminants such as colors, dyes or additives, Solomita said. The resulting polyester resin will meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s standards for food-grade packaging while paving the way for a circular economy, he added.

The facility will serve as the cornerstone of Loop’s commercialization strategy, one that will leverage its technology to respond to the sustainability targets of brands, governments and non-governmental organizations.

“To encourage more recycling at the community level and reduce climate causing emissions, Loop facilities are planned to be optimally located adjacent to large population centers where ample feedstock can be found,” Solomita said.

And Loop’s scope is only expanding. In January, the company announced that it was working with Evian, as part of a long-term global partnership with Danone, to further the mineral-water company’s 100 percent “circular approach” to plastic use by 2025. Just last month, Loop hired Nelson Switzer, former chief sustainability officer at Nestlé Waters and Nestlé U.S.A. to assume the role of chief growth officer.