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Polymers

European firms ‘waking up’ to plastics recycling

Oil and gas firms partner with plastics recyclers

by Alex Scott
November 14, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 45

 

55%

The share of the 17 million metric tons of annual plastic packaging waste that companies in the European Union must recycle by 2030, as required by the European Commission. The EU currently recycles less than 25% of all plastic waste.

As public pressure grows, European firms have unveiled a new round of initiatives to increase chemical and mechanical recycling of plastics in the region.

“It’s very clear there’s a paradigm shift going on in the industry,” Paul Hodges, chair of the consulting firm International eChem, told delegates at a conference held by chemical information provider ICIS in Berlin earlier this month. “Companies are waking up to the fact that waste plastics are a really big issue.”

One company fully awake to the issue is the Finnish refiner Neste, which announced a partnership with the plastics recycling firm Ravago. It is the second such deal Neste has signed in as many months as part of its goal to chemically recycle more than 200,000 metric tons (t) per year of waste plastic.

Another oil and gas company, Hungary’s MOL Group, has acquired the German plastics recycler Aurora Group for an undisclosed sum. Aurora has the capacity to produce 15,000 t per year of recycled polypropylene and other plastics, largely for the auto industry.

Meanwhile, DuPont Teijin Films is working with Poseidon Plastics to scale up Poseidon’s process for chemically recycling waste polyester goods such as trays, containers, and fabrics. Poseidon has tested the process in a 1,000 t per year plant. DuPont Teijin Films will assist the UK firm in scaling up its process to 10,000 t within 18 months on DuPont Teijin Films’ site in Teesside, England.

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