In another strategic move to secure a steady supply of recycled resin material, Braskem has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nexus Circular, an Atlanta-based advanced recycler that converts end-of-life plastics into circular feedstocks for use in plastics production, gaining exclusive rights to the production output of Nexus Circular’s proposed new plant in Illinois.
The MOU follows the strategic investment made by Baskem in Nexus Circular earlier this year, a decision which the company said was aligned with its feedstock diversification strategy and ambition to drive plastics circularity.
Since 2018, Nexus has been supplying consistent, on-spec commercial volumes of ISCC PLUS certified circular products, and is on a trajectory to process1 billion+ lbs. annually of hard-to-recycle plastics.
The planned new facility will have an initial capacity to convert over 30,000 metric tons annually of used plastic into new materials, with the potential to rapidly expand the processing capacity to over 120,000 metric tons annually.
Nexus is rapidly expanding its production footprint, ‘beyond our current commercial plant, with leading companies’, according to Eric Hartz, Nexus Circular's Co-founder, and President.
“We are thrilled to have Braskem as a committed partner, in addition to being an investor, as we move decisively to address the outsized market demand for circular recycled products while helping to mitigate the plastic waste challenge," he said.
Along with Braskem, Nexus also counts Printpack and Chevron Phillips Chemical as backers along with lead investor Cox Enterprises.
Nexus converts certain plastics — high and low density polyethylene, polystyrene and polypropylene — through pyrolysis to feedstock that can be used to then create new plastics and fuel. Pyrolysis refers to the the process whereby polymers, gaseous hydrocarbons, hydrocarbon-rich oils and various other organic materials such as petroleum byproducts are decomposed, solely through the use of pressure and heat in the absence of oxygen.
The company only targets plastics that already have been missed by traditional recycling efforts, Hartz has said in a previous interview. "In our case," he explained, "everything we take is 100 percent landfill bound. We are not trying to compete with mechanical [recycling]. We are not trying to pull from other sources. It was going to be in a landfill or potentially burned.”
By securing the exclusive rights to the production output from the new Nexus facility, Braskem is taking a further step towards realising its strategic objective to sell 300 thousand metric tons of products with recycled content by 2025 and 1 million metric tons by 2030.
"With the new facility, we will leverage Nexus' proven, commercial advanced recycling technology to secure high-quality feedstock for the production of Braskem's certified circular PP resins. Braskem has dedicated substantial resources towards reducing plastic waste and is making significant progress towards a more sustainable portfolio of PP to support our clients' goals,” said Braskem America's CEO Mark Nikolich.