Nan Ya's Recycled Polyester Seizes the Billion-Dollar Opportunity

2022 . 08 . 01


Nan Ya Seizes the Billion-Dollar Opportunity in Recycled Polyester Market. 

   Nan Ya's esterification monomer pilot plant has already begun trial production and is set to expand the recycling of plastic waste, including old clothes, PET bottles, and fishing nets, venturing into the recycled polyester market. It anticipates explosive growth in demand within three years.

   The global market for recycled and recycled polyester is poised for an explosive period of growth. It's reported that global beverage companies such as Coca-Cola and Nestle have committed to transitioning to eco-friendly packaging. International brands like Adidas, ZARA, PUMA, NIKE, H&M, and even IKEA have declared their intentions to use recycled materials partially or comprehensively within the next two years. Therefore, the market for recycled polyester (R-PET) is expected to continue to expand.

   "Recycling rates for PET bottles can't keep up with the growing demand for R-PET," says Nan Ya Chairman Wu Chia-chao. Globally, only about 30% of PET production is used to produce PET bottles, with the majority being used for textiles. According to statistics, approximately 85% of discarded clothing is either buried or incinerated. This is why Nan Ya has taken the initiative to enter the textile and waste fabric recycling market.

   "This will be a significant help in ensuring a stable supply of R-PET over the next few years," Wu Chia-chao emphasizes. In Taiwan, data from the Taiwan Textile Federation shows that in 2020, the total output value of Taiwan's textile industry reached NT$289.3 billion, with synthetic fibers being the largest category. To meet the 2030 global textile industry's goal of reducing carbon emissions by 45%, major brand factories have successively declared their intention to use sustainable recycled materials. Textile Exchange estimates that by 2025, the R-PET required for textiles will reach as much as 17.1 million tons, while PET bottles can only supply 15.9 million tons.

   Wu Chia-chao points out that Nan Ya is actively collaborating with industry-leading brands to recycle inventory fabric, cuttings, and post-consumer old clothes from their supply chains to establish a circular economy in the textile industry. Unlike many of its peers, which primarily use R-PET for lower-technology applications such as short fibers, bottles, and sheets, Nan Ya uses 90% of the recycled PET bottles to produce long fibers with higher technical difficulty and higher added value. In 2021, Nan Ya's production of recycled polyester long fibers ranked first globally, with an annual output of 98,000 tons, accounting for about 16% of the global total.

   To further solidify its position in the recycled polyester market, Nan Ya has recently partnered with the Taiwan outdoor sports brand " ATUNAS." They have jointly established Taiwan's first circular textile demonstration supply chain. Using Nan Ya's proprietary intelligent machinery for classifying fabric material, they employ near-infrared spectroscopy technology combined with artificial intelligence (AI) to recycle fabric waste (colored fabrics), cuttings, and post-consumer old clothing to achieve a circular economy in the textile industry.

   Moreover, to address the problems of yellowing and poor viscosity caused by using low-grade PET bottle flakes, Nan Ya has invested NT$180 million to establish a recycling line using special hydrolysis technology. Additionally, Nan Ya is constructing a BHET esterification monomer pilot plant using proprietary technology. This plant has begun trial production and is expected to commence full-scale production next year.

NAN YA PLASTICS Polyester Fiber Division