Why PET is harder to recycle than Nylon



This post is a continuation of my series from the 10th annual CARE Entrepreneur Meeting, held on October 23rd.  For much more from the meeting, visit the RecycleAmp blog.  The information in this post is from a presentation on PET given at the CARE meeting.  For more information on CARE, visit their website.

1) Price: Prime PET is worth considerably less than PET (~$0.80/lb for PET vs ~$1.30/lb for Nylon) so using recycled materials as an alternative for prime requires a lower price point for recycled PET.

2) Nylon is in high demand for injection molding, thus raising the price of recycled Nylon.

3) Recycled Nylon is more tolerant of Calcium and other polymers.

4) PET has no engineered resin molding applications and cannot be easily molded into parts.

5) PET has a high sensitivity to moisture relative to Nylon.

6) PET loses important properties, particularly IV during re-extrusion.

7) PET must undergo the expensive process of crystallization to restore these properties.

Bottom line: reprocessing PET into a recycled resin/pellet costs more than those pellets are worth…for now.  Thus, the primary option for recycling post consumer PET carpet is still tearing it into fiber for the shoddy market.  Stay tuned for a look at future possible PET technologies.

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