Chevron Phillips Chemical has announced that its two-year exploration into the technical viability of producing circular polymers from waste plastics via a process of advanced recycling has borne fruit. Calling its successful production run a ‘milestone’, the company said the approach can complement traditional recycling by converting a range of materials into important building blocks for new chemicals.
“We are exceptionally proud to be the first company to announce production of a circular polyethylene on this scale in the U.S.,” said Jim Becker, vice president of polymers and sustainability.
CPChem spokesman Ryan Draper said the company has a target to produce a total of 1 billion pounds - almost half a billion kilograms - of the recycled PE annually by 2030. He declined to disclose current production but said it was made in the company's Cedar Bayou facility in Baytown, Texas, where it makes virgin PE and other chemicals.
The circular polyethylene fully matches the performance and safety specifications of the virgin polymers produced by CPChem. The company is now focussing on scaling up its production of circular polyethylene to meet its ambitious production plans.
That includes working with several proven suppliers of pyrolysis oil, the feedstock made from waste plastics, and pursuing certification for the new polyethylene through the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification Plus (ISCC Plus) approach using their internationally recognised mass balance certification methodology.
Advanced recycling technology allows the recovery of hydrocarbons from plastic waste previously considered to be unrecyclable, ‘enabling us to upgrade them into clean, safe circular plastics’, CPChem’s sustainability technical manager, Ron Abbott, pointed out. He added that all recycling methods have a role to play in reducing plastic waste and achieving the societal sustainability goals we all want.
Once the new family of circular polyethylenes is certified, Chevron Phillips Chemical intends to market the materials under the trade name Marlex Anew Circular Polyethylene.