R Plus Japan, a new joint-venture company launched by 12 cross-industry partners within the Japanese plastic supply chain, provides the funding.
Anellotech Inc., a sustainable technology company located in Pearl River, NY, announced that joint-venture enterprise R Plus Japan Ltd. will invest in the development of Anellotech’s innovative Plas-TCat technology for recycling difficult-to-recycle plastics. Tokyo-based R Plus Japan was established in June 2020 by 12 cross-industry partners within the Japanese plastics supply chain, including Suntory Monozukuri Expert Ltd., a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Ltd., Rengo Co. Ltd., Toyo Seikan Group Holdings Ltd., J&T Recycling Corp., and Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., among others.
Unlike the existing multi-step processes that first liquefy plastic waste back into low-value synthetic oil intermediate products, Anellotech’s Plas-TCat chemical recycling technology uses a one-step thermal-catalytic process to convert single-use plastics directly into basic chemicals, such as benzene, toluene, xylenes (BTX), ethylene, and propylene. They can then be used to make new plastics. The technology’s process efficiency has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption. Once utilized across the industry, this technology will be able to more efficiently recycle single-use plastic, one of the world’s most urgent challenges, stated Anellotech.
Suntory began collaborating with Anellotech in 2012 to develop the Bio-TCat process for making aromatics (including paraxylene) from non-food biomass (pine wood), required to make 100% plant-based PET bottles. Anellotech is leveraging and adapting composite films and other difficult-to-recycle materials, at industrial scale into the same basic chemicals — aromatics and olefins — already used to make most virgin plastics, including PET.
“We believe this initiative by Anellotech and R Plus Japan, combining enabling Plas-TCat chemical recycling technology with the concerted efforts of committed supply chain players, illustrates the best model to aggregate and apply the required resources in amelioration of the problem of plastic waste,” said Anellotech CEO Dave Suldolsky. “Plas-TCat’s unique capability to directly produce basic chemicals (used today to make most virgin plastics) from mixed plastics waste, at large scale, represents an economically viable and impactful solution to the plastic waste problem. We are excited by the opportunities ahead and look forward to collaboration with R Plus Japan in tackling this challenge.”
Tsunehiko Yokoi, CEO of R Plus Japan, commented, “The significance of chemical recycling is its ability to transform and convert plastic waste into its original chemical components, to eventually produce new plastics. Turning used plastic into secondary raw materials enables the sustainable use of resources for various industries across the plastics supply chain.
“Through the development of this innovative technology, we hope to contribute to solving the global plastic waste issue, which has long been a challenge due to its difficulties in recycling. We’re very excited to work with our industry partners to move this important work forward,” Yokoi added.
With the engagement of various industries throughout the value chain, from raw materials manufacturers and packaging suppliers to beverage companies, the newly established R Plus Japan, together with Anellotech, will advance the development and commercialization of this eco-efficient plastic recycling technology by 2027, said the release.