The diverse applications of PET films include electronic components, packaging materials, and display items. The supply chain of electronic components from film production through disposal is relatively short, prompting moves to consider recycling systems. The challenge, however, has been an absence of techniques to remove diverse coatings, resins, and other materials from each process in the supply chain. This has hampered reusing materials in films, so the focus has been on waste disposal and thermal recycling.
Toray therefore set about collaborating with companies across the supply chain in what proved a successful effort to build and run a system to collect and reuse PET film from electronic component applications. Toray combined mechanical recycling process technology, which removes coatings materials and resins from film surfaces through grinding, washing, separating, drying, re-granulating and compounding, with foreign matter removal techniques for each manufacturing process to enable reuse in films without impairing mechanical characteristics or reliability. The resulting Ecouse series of eco-friendly PET films could help lower the consumption of raw materials derived from fossil fuels and waste plastics while lowering carbon dioxide emissions, from used film recovery through film production, by 30% to 50% less than those of conventional Toray offerings.
Ecouse is a brand for recycled materials and products that Toray began rolling out worldwide in 2015. The company has traditionally reused scrap from manufacturing processes as raw materials for films. It will now accelerate its deployment of recycled films through developing Ecouse series PET films employing recycled materials from customers. Toray looks to build more recycling systems and manufacturing setups to expand the variety of collecting film applications beyond electronic component. It will also expand the use of Ecouse for other series of films and film processed products.
Toray’s Green Innovation Business Expansion Project provides solutions to environmental, resources, and energy issues. It is through that initiative that Toray seeks to expand its businesses across diverse fields, including energy conservation, biomass, and recycling, to help materialize a sustainably circular economy.
Toray will continue to supply innovative technologies and advanced materials that help the world overcome the challenges of balancing development and sustainability.