LyondellBasell has taken a further step towards the circular economy, the company announced on 6 May. With the successful production of virgin quality polymers from raw materials derived from plastic waste at its Wesseling, Germany, site, LyondellBasell has shown that the use of alternative feedstocks to manufacture high-quality materials at commercial scale is no longer a far-off possibility, is but today’s reality.
"Advancing the circular economy requires definitive action and by consistently using these new raw materials in the production of polymers on a commercial scale, we are doing our part to help eliminate plastic waste and address climate change," says Richard Roudeix, SVP Olefins & Polyolefins for Europe, Middle East, Africa and India.
The technology involves thermally transforming plastic waste into a raw material that is in turn converted into ethylene and propylene at the LyondellBasell production facilities, and then processed into polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) in the downstream units for plastics production.
The first use of raw material derived from plastic waste follows the company's successful production of plastic materials made from renewable-based raw materials such as used cooking oil, which helps to reduce CO2 over the product life cycle and reduce the use of fossil-based raw materials.
The products made from recycled and renewable-based raw materials will be marketed by LyondellBasell under the Circulen brand name. These products enable the production of high-quality plastics for strictly controlled applications such as food packaging and healthcare items.
"We are expanding our range of sustainable solutions through our Circulen brand and the use of recycled content, offering our customers a way to use recycled polymers in a wide variety of applications, said Roudeix.”
The LyondellBasell facilities manufacturing these products are certified according to the ISCC (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification) PLUS standard.
LyondellBasell has pledged to reduce CO2 emissions in its operations worldwide by 15% per ton of product produced by 2030 compared with 2015 levels, and produce and market two million metric tons per year of recycled or renewable-based polymers by 2030.
To that end, the company last year commissioned a pilot plant in Ferrara, Italy, to further develop its molecular recycling technology, and continues to develop activities in the field of mechanical recycling via its Dutch joint venture Quality Circular Polymers (QCP). QCP produces high-quality polyethylene and polypropylene grades from household waste, which are also marketed under the Circulen brand. These polymers are used, for example, in electrical appliances, detergent bottles and travel cases.