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1. (WO2017151144) SUSTAINABLE PROCESS FOR THE RECYCLING OF POLYETHYLENE PHTHALATE
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CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A method of processing one or more streams in a phthalate-containing polymer recycling system, the method comprising:

(a) receiving an extract stream from a liquid chromatography unit, wherein the liquid

chromatography unit is part of the phthalate-containing polymer recycling system, and wherein the extract stream comprises a bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer, a C2-5 alkylene diol, and a solvent;

(b) vacuum distilling at least a portion of the extract stream to produce a first solvent

stream and a monomer and diol stream, wherein the monomer and diol stream comprises the bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer and the C2-5 alkylene diol; and

(c) subjecting at least a portion of the monomer and diol stream to steam separation to

produce a monomer stream and a diol stream, wherein the monomer stream comprises the bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer and water, and wherein the diol stream comprises the C2-5 alkylene diol and water.

2. The method of claim 1 further comprising recycling at least a portion of the first solvent stream to the liquid chromatography unit.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the step (b) of vacuum distilling at least a portion of the extract stream is conducted at a pressure of from about 0.05 atm to about 0.25 atm.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the steam separation is conducted at a temperature of from about 100 °C to about 220 °C.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the steam separation is conducted at a pressure of from about 2 atm to about 10 atm.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the steam separation comprises contacting at least a portion of the monomer and diol stream with steam at a weight ratio of steam to C2-5 alkylene diol of from about 1: 1 to about 2.5: 1.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the steam separation comprises spraying at least a portion of the monomer and diol stream into a steam atmosphere, wherein the C2-5 alkylene diol of the monomer and diol stream evaporates in the steam atmosphere to produce the diol stream.

8. The method of claim 1 further comprising distilling at least a portion of the diol stream to produce a first recovered C2-5 alkylene diol and a second water stream, wherein at least a portion of the first recovered C2-5 alkylene diol is recycled to a step of depolymerizing a phthalate-containing polymer.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the monomer stream is cooled to produce a cooled bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer and a first water stream.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein at least a portion of the cooled bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer is dried to produce recovered bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer, wherein the recovered bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer comprises less than about 1 wt.% water, based on the total weight of the bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein the steam separation comprises steam precipitation.

12. A method of processing one or more streams in a phthalate-containing polymer recycling system, the method comprising:

(a) receiving a raffinate stream from a liquid chromatography unit, wherein the liquid

chromatography unit is part of the phthalate-containing polymer recycling system, and wherein the raffinate stream comprises first impurities, a C2-5 alkylene diol, and a solvent;

(b) vacuum distilling at least a portion of the raffinate stream to produce a second solvent stream and a first impurities stream, wherein the first impurities stream comprises first impurities and the C2-5 alkylene diol; and

(c) recycling at least a portion of the second solvent stream to the liquid chromatography unit.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the step (b) of vacuum distilling at least a portion of the raffinate stream is conducted at a pressure of from about 0.1 atm to about 0.8 atm.

14. The method of claim 12 further comprising cooling at least a portion of the first impurities stream to produce a cooled first impurities stream.

15. The method of claim 14 further comprising decanting at least a portion of the cooled first impurities stream to produce undissolved impurities and a second recovered C2-5 alkylene diol, wherein at least a portion of the second recovered C2-5 alkylene diol is recycled to a step of depolymerizing a phthalate-containing polymer.

16. A method of processing one or more streams in a phthalate-containing polymer recycling system, the method comprising:

(a) depolymerizing a phthalate-containing polymer to provide bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate;

(b) separating the bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate from a composition comprising

depolymerized phthalate-containing polymer in a continuous multi-column liquid chromatography unit to produce an extract stream and a raffinate stream, wherein the continuous multi-column liquid chromatography unit is part of the phthalate- containing polymer recycling system, wherein the extract stream comprises a bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer, a C2-5 alkylene diol, and a solvent, and wherein the raffinate stream comprises first impurities, a C2-5 alkylene diol, and a solvent;

(c) vacuum distilling at least a portion of the extract stream to produce a first solvent

stream and a monomer and diol stream, wherein the monomer and diol stream comprises the bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer and the C2-5 alkylene diol;

(d) subjecting at least a portion of the monomer and diol stream to steam separation to produce a monomer stream and a diol stream, wherein the monomer stream comprises the bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer and water, and wherein the diol stream comprises the C2-5 alkylene diol and water; and

(e) vacuum distilling at least a portion of the raffinate stream to produce a second solvent stream and a first impurities stream, wherein the first impurities stream comprises first impurities and the C2-5 alkylene diol.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate comprises

bis(2-hydroxyethyl) phthalate.

18. The method of claim 16, wherein the C2-5 alkylene diol comprises ethylene glycol, 1,3 -propanediol, 1,4-butanediol, 1,2-pentanediol, or combinations thereof.

19. The method of claim 16, further comprising recovering the bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer from the monomer stream to yield recovered bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer and recycling at least a portion of the recovered bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein recycling at least a portion of the recovered

bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer comprises re-polymerizing at least a portion of the recovered bis(hydroxyalkyl) phthalate monomer.