The production of fibers from recycled PET has been part of Tokyo-based Oyama Chemical Company’s core business since 1974. Oyama Chemical is a unit of the Freudenberg Business group Japan Vilene Company, which makes nonwovens that are 97% composed of the recycled fibers. Over the years, the company has built up extensive expertise in the field, especially when it comes to the viscosity, or resistance to flow, of recycled PET.
Over the past few years, employees have continued to develop their process steps: In 2019, Oyama produced small flakes for its own use out of about 370 million PET bottles. They found new life, first as fibers and then as paneling for doors and roofs in car interiors. With this clever reuse of the bottles, a one-way product, Oyama is not only helping to reduce the volume of its waste – it is also cutting down on the consumption of costly raw materials.
But with recycling taking off, prices for recycled PET bottles have recently risen as well, so Oyama shut down its bottle shredding facilities in June 2020. However, given its knowhow in the field, the company can produce fibers from PET chips that are recycled outside the company.