CuRe: Low energy molecular polyester recycling

Polyester carpet image
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Holland Circular Hotspot
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Low energy recycling solution for colored polyester

Polyester is one of the most commonly used plastics. It is used for products like bottles, carpets and clothes, and has endless benefits. But it also has a huge downside. Currently, 91% of all polyester products are not recycled because they are coloured, contaminated or contain additives. The result: 64 billion kg of waste every year.

CuRe is working on developing a fully circular polyester chain, with a range of methods for recycling the basic material depending on its precise specifications. It has its own core technology but also allows for modular add-on to other technologies, giving the flexibility to choose the best route depending on the type of polyester waste.

Together, the CuRe consortium offers high-level expertise in the recycled polyester manufacturing, waste preparation and material science sectors.

Main activity field
Main results
  • Current Life Cycle Assessment screening identifies a 75% saving in global warming potential (GWP) compared with polyester made from fossil resources, or a saving of 1.6 kg CO2 per kg of polyester. Globally, 70 billion kg of polyester are produced every year, of which only 9% is recycled, so the potential impact is massive.
  • In July 2020, a close collaboration with Coca-Cola European Partners was announced, and funding was received from the European Union and the Dutch Government. The aim is to reach commercial scale in early 2023. CuRe is looking for global partners committed to creating a fully circular polyester loop by contributing know-how and funding.