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Circular Economy

Eastman is driven by a purpose to enhance the quality of life in a material way and a vision to be the world’s leading material innovation company. Our long history of technical expertise in chemical processes and polymer science positions us to provide innovative solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems, including the challenges of plastic waste in our environment. Our unique platform of solutions can significantly reduce plastic waste and support the evolution of the circular economy, delivering value to our stakeholders and the global community.

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Advanced circular recycling is an innovative technology leveraging methanolysis to take plastic waste back to its building blocks. Waste polyesters are depolymerized using heat, pressure and methanol to give monomers called dimethyl terephthalate (DMT), ethylene glycol (EG) and other specialty monomers. These monomers can then be reintroduced as recycled polyester raw materials to make new polyesters, delivering a true circular solution.
Eastman has a strong history in polymer science and has experience with commercializing advanced circular recycling, known in scientific terms as methanolysis. We know this is a technology that works and a methanolysis facility can be developed at a scale to meet the demands of our copolyester markets. We believe this is a technology that will help close a gap in current recycling capabilities.
Mechanical recycling refers to the predominant method of recycling practiced in communities around the world today. The process includes collecting, sorting, grinding, washing, separating, drying, re-granulating and compounding. In mechanical recycling, polymers stay intact, which permits for multiple but finite re-use of polymers in the same or similar product. Polymers recycled with this method are highly valued but challenging to produce due to the high purity requirements.

Advanced circular recycling is a positive end-of-life solution for polyester materials that might otherwise be discarded in landfills. Through the scientific process of methanolysis, polyester-based products are reduced to their polymer building blocks – called monomers. They are then reintroduced to the value chain as recycled polyester raw materials, delivering a true circular solution.

Our technology can complement mechanical recycling by providing a solution for materials that can’t be addressed by mechanical recycling.
Eastman is committed to working together across the value chain to create real and actionable solutions towards a true circular economy. We believe that sustainable solutions to plastic waste are in reach and we are determined to play our part in the world’s collective response.

Our scientific and technical resources can be a circular economy multiplier for plastics and textiles. We have developed, operated and proven technologies that unlock value in plastics and textiles which cannot be mechanically recycled or are difficult to recycle. These scale technologies can complement current mechanical recycling technologies and enable brand owners and others in the value chain to achieve their ambitious goals for waste reduction and commitments on recycled content.
Yes. We are in discussions with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and have an initial focus on membership in the CE100. We are also considering applying for membership in the New Plastics Economy in Q2 this year.

Additionally, we are participating in the Plastic Leak Project, an initiative led by Quantis to guide companies to move from assumption-based to fact-based actions. At Eastman, we believe in leveraging sound science to better understand potential solutions and the Plastic Leak Project is firmly aligned with that approach.

We are very encouraged to be more closely engaged with organizations who are working to identify and promote technologies that can help to create transformative change.
At Eastman, we define sustainability as creating significantly more value in the world than the resources we use. Our sustainability goals have three priorities: steering a sustainable portfolio, driving resource productivity and delivering focused good for good. These priorities allow us to create value through sustainable products, efficient use of resources, and strategic partnerships that drive social innovation.

We have the technology and expertise to provide innovative sustainable solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems. By investing in our portfolio of circular solutions, we can help solve significant global challenges whilst delivering value to our stakeholders, customers, partners and the global community.

Visit eastman.com/sustainability to learn more.


Quote from MCosta Quote from David Golden

Other Resources
Innovation at Eastman
Sustainability at Eastman
Corporate Responsibility at Eastman

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