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Industrial scale PET chemical recycling via an innovative glycolysis process

Project description

New recycling process for PET shows promise for a true circular economy

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic is one of the world’s major pollutants, and large-scale PET recycling efforts are limited by technological barriers. The ChemPET project has developed a chemical recycling technology that converts a wide range of PET plastics into bis (2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalate (BHET), the monomer building block of PET. This can then be used to form virgin PET, closing the circular economy loop and avoiding the use of crude oil substrates to produce new PET plastics. ChemPET will now look to optimise and scale this process up, and collaborate across the plastics and recycling value chain to ensure the process is widely used.


The massive industrial use of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) poses serious economic and environmental problems due to its poor recyclability. Current PET disposal options include incineration, landfilling and recycling while a relevant amount is still dumped into oceans. Landfilling and incineration are however outdated since environmentally unsustainable. Recycling is the preferred option, but a series of technological barriers limit the recycling into high-quality rPET (recycled PET).
The ChemPET project aims to scale-up a cutting-edge chemical recycling technology, based on glycolysis, for PET based waste converting it into monomer BHET.
Currently, there are no alternatives which guarantee efficient results at industrial scale considering heterogeneous PET feedstock. BHET can be newly used as raw material in the production of virgin PET instead of the terephthalic acid (TPA) and the ethylene glycol (EG) that derive from crude oil. This determines advantages for the PET value chain in terms of environmental sustainability, competitiveness and job creation. ChemPET will help Europe to achieve the “Zero Plastics to landfill by 2025”, promoting the Circular Economy and reducing Europe dependency on fossil feedstocks. ChemPET project foresees the technical improvement of ChemPET technology and the valorisation of by-products.
After the optimization of the BHET production phase, GARBO will collaborate with many stakeholders across plastic industry value chain to maximize the business opportunities and foster the uptake of ChemPET technology. The production of chemical recycled PET (crPET) from BHET will close the loop supporting the growth of the circular economy thus reshaping the PET value chain at whole. Large occupational benefits are expected by the replication of ChemPET process.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 1 349 847,94

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Nord-Ovest Piemonte Novara
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 2 557 500,00

Participants (1)