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TPA from PET bottles

A chemical method previously developed for recovering monomers from polyester blend fabrics and textiles has now been adapted for use with waste plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The BCD Group (Cincinnati, Ohio; www.bcdinternational.com) developed a modified base-catalyzed decomposition (BCD) process that takes place in stirred-tank reactors using a base and a proprietary phase-transfer catalyst to separate cotton-polyester blend fabric components and depolymerize polyesters (Chem. Eng., November 2016, p. 9; www.chemengonline.com/recycling-textiles-reusable-cotton-polyesters-silver). The company has tested the process at laboratory and pilot scales. Now, the modified BCD process has been optimized for the recovery of terephthalic acid (TPA) from waste PET bottles. The advantage of this process over alternatives is that it is carried out rapidly at low temperatures and with inexpensive reagents, the company says. The TPA can be used as raw material for other polymer products.

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