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Total Corbion PLA announces “world’s first” commercially available bioplastic from chemical recycling

October 31, 2021
Chemical Value Chain

Total Corbion PLA is unveiling the “world’s first” commercially available bioplastic produced by chemical recycling. The Luminy recycled PLA (rPLA) grades boast the same properties, characteristics and regulatory approvals as virgin Luminy PLA but are partially made from post-industrial and post-consumer PLA waste.

The company is already receiving and depolymerizing reprocessed PLA waste, which is then purified and polymerized back into commercially available Luminy rPLA.

The commercial availability of rPLA enables brand owners to package food and beverage products in rPLA.

“The ability to now efficiently receive, repurpose and resupply PLA is a further demonstration of the sustainability of our product and the demonstration of our commitment to enable the circular economy through value chain partnership,” comments Thomas Philipon, Total Corbion PLA’s CEO.

Meanwhile, François de Bie, senior marketing director at Total Corbion PLA, encourages interested parties to get in touch: “The ability to chemically recycle post-industrial and post-consumer PLA waste allows us to not only reduce waste but also keep valuable resources in use and truly ‘close the loop.’”

“For our customers, the new, additional end-of-life avenue this provides could be the missing piece in their sustainability puzzle, and we look forward to solving these challenges together.”

Recycled content
As an initial offering, grades will be supplied with 20% recycled content using the widely accepted principles of mass balance.

“As we are currently ramping up this initiative, the initial volumes are limited, but we are confident rPLA will grow to be a significant part of our overall sales revenues,” continues de Bie.

Looplife in Belgium and Sansu in South Korea are among the first active partners supporting the collection, sorting and cleaning of post-industrial and post-consumer PLA waste.

Total Corbion PLA uses the resulting PLA feedstock to make new Luminy PLA polymers via chemical recycling.

Total Corbion PLA is actively looking for additional partners worldwide to drive the use of rPLA. We invite interested parties to contact their local sales representative. The company expects the growing demand for rPLA to boost the collecting, sorting and reprocessing of post-use PLA for both mechanical and chemical recycling.

“At Total Corbion PLA, we are actively seeking to purchase more post-industrial and post-consumer PLA waste, creating value for the recycle industry as a whole.”

Advanced recycling proliferates
PackagingInsights recently explored the proliferation of advanced recycling activity with Susan Hansen, global strategist for food packaging and logistics at Rabobank.

Advanced recycling continues to flourish in 2021, despite criticism from NGOs and media reports challenging the cost-effectiveness and environmental performance of these technologies. The increasing market activity has been documented in Rabobank’s latest report on advanced recycling.

Many see advanced recycling as crucial to establishing a circular plastics economy. Advanced recycling technologies split polymer chains, converting hard-to-recycle plastics into crude oil, naphtha or fuels.

The Dutch bank has monitored “plenty of activity” in 2021, including traceability solution trials, new plant announcements, partnerships, acquisitions and equity stakes. There are also new players entering the industry, especially in Asia.

Edited by Joshua Poole


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