NEW YORK (ICIS) – Dow aims to expand its plastic recycling projects while developing a recycling ecosystem and engaging in more partnerships to meet surging demand from brand owners, says Dow. the company’s CEO said.
In October, Dow announced it would triple its goal of producing 3 million tons of recycled and renewable plastic annually by 2030.
“We are seeing very strong demand from consumer brand owners,” Dow CEO Jim Fittering said in an interview with ICIS, noting that leading companies at the Consumer Goods Forum He pointed out that it suggests a demand for 800,000 tonnes of chemically recycled plastics. 2030.
“It shows the potential in the market, which is why we decided to triple our target,” he added.
Fitterling has been named 2022 ICIS CEO of the Year. It is based on the votes of peers in the ICIS Top 40 Power Players, a global ranking of leaders with the greatest positive impact on their company and the chemical industry.
The key to helping these brand owners reach their ambitious goals is to expand production of chemically recycled plastics. He pointed out that this is particularly important for food packaging applications, which can usually only be met by chemical (also called advanced) recycling.
“Most of these projects in advanced recycling are on the scale of 10,000 to 25,000 tonnes per year, which cannot be reached when global reactors for polyethylene (PE) are on the order of 350,000 tonnes minimum. from 600,000-700,000 tonnes/year,” Fitterling said.
German MURA project real scale
In September, Dow and Mura Technologies announced that Mura will build Europe’s largest chemically recycled plastics project with a capacity of 120,000 tonnes per year at Dow’s facility in Bären, Germany. A final investment decision is targeted for the end of 2023 and the plant could be operational by 2025.
“Mura’s long-term goal is to reach up to 600,000 tons/year. [by 2030].as we see ourselves [moving closer] Towards a target of 1 million tons per year, [go] Even bigger,” Fitterling said.
“They have a very interesting technology that basically uses supercritical steam to decompose plastics. We feel there is. [potential] And getting us into commercial-grade quantities … to be able to meet the needs of these brand owners,” he added.
Dow has about 20 collaborations in plastic recycling in addition to collaborations with Mura, including Nexus Circular, which is building a chemical recycling plastics project in Dallas, Texas, USA, the CEO noted. According to Nexus, the project will have an input capacity of 26,000 tons per year.
“We have several around the world and will continue to seek partnerships,” said Fitterling.
Building an ecosystem
Dow is focused on developing the industrial ecosystem that will enable this large-scale production, along with partnerships to build large-scale plastic recycling projects.
“At the same time, we have other partners working on public-private partnerships on recycling that seek to recover waste from the recycling stream,” says Fitterling.
“They are investing in things like a new automated MRF (Material Recovery Facility) with high-tech capabilities around digital optical sorting, so they can sort more plastic into different grades. The higher the quality of plastic that goes into these advanced recycling projects, the higher the quality of the final product,” he added.
In January, Dow joined the Cyclyx International consortium, which aims to increase plastic recycling rates from 10% to 90% by creating new supply chains. Cyclyx is building its first advanced plastic waste treatment facility in Houston, Texas, USA, capable of producing 150,000 tons per year of raw materials for both mechanical and chemical recycling. This is expected to be the first of many in the United States.
Dow is also a funding partner of The Recycling Partnership, which aims to increase recycling on the road, among other initiatives.
“Today, not much plastic is collected on the street … So if we want to increase recycling rates, especially here in the United States, we need to make sure that every household has access to plastic. We’re trying to drive development across the system,” said Fitterling.
The Recycling Partnership is working with Michigan, USA, where Dow is headquartered in Midland, to increase its recycling rate from 14% in 2019 to 45% by 2030. MRF operations and road education programs.
Certification of mechanically and chemically recycled plastics is also important for brand owners’ customers to make credible sustainability claims, Dow’s CEO noted.
“Both mechanical and advanced recycling, we have the ability to prove to brand owners at multiple sites around the world that products do indeed contain recycled content,” said Fitterling. increase.
“That authentication and traceability is necessary for them to make their case, because … people are always trying to attack you. We need that verification about the greenwashing claim, and you need to be able to back it up,” he added.
Read an interview with Dow CEO Jim Fitterling, ICIS CEO of the Year
Interview article by Joseph Chan
Thumbnails show bales of recycled plastic. Image by Shutterstock.