Polymers (Basel). 2023 Aug 2;15(15):3274. doi: 10.3390/polym15153274.
The chemical recycling of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) residues was performed via glycolysis with ethylene glycol (EG) over Mg-Fe and Mg-Al oxide catalysts derived from layered double hydroxides. Catalysts prepared using the high supersaturation method (h.s.c.) presented a higher surface area and larger particles, but this represented less PET conversion than those prepared by the low supersaturation method (l.s.c.). This difference was attributed to the smaller mass transfer limitations inside the (l.s.c.) catalysts. An artificial neural network model well fitted the PET conversion and bis(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalate (BHET) yield. The influence of Fe in place of Al resulted in a higher PET conversion of the Mg-Fe-h.s.c. catalyst (~95.8%) than of Mg-Al-h.s.c. (~63%). Mg-Fe catalysts could be reused four to five times with final conversions of up to 97% with reaction conditions of EG: PET = 5:1 and catalyst: PET = 0.5%. These results confirm the Mg-Fe oxides as a biocompatible novel catalyst for the chemical recycling of PET residues to obtain non-toxic BHET for further polymerization, and use in food and beverage packaging.