Dow boosts global circular economy with investments in advanced recycling tech for plastics
22 Jul 2022 --- Dow is investing in new recycling technologies to progress the global circular plastics economy for packaging. The materials science company is furthering its partnership with advanced plastic recycling pioneer Mura Technology with the intention to construct multiple world-scale 120 kilotons (KT) advanced recycling facilities in the US and Europe. It is also teaming up with French recycling company Valoregen to build the country’s largest single hybrid recycling site.
The construction of the advanced recycling facilities with Mura is expected to collectively add up to 600 KT of annual capacity. Dow will act as a key off-taker of the circular feed that Mura produces.
This circular feed, derived from plastic waste currently destined for landfill or incineration, reduces reliance on fossil-based feedstocks and will enable Dow to produce a recycled plastic feedstock for virgin-grade plastics.
“By investing in new applications, Dow is working to meet the increased demand for recycled material from its customers and make a meaningful impact on the supply chain, helping to close the loop on plastic waste,” says Marc van den Biggelaar, advanced recycling director for Dow.
“This partnership continues to create momentum for Dow as we move toward feedstock flexibility and diversification, which is essential if we wish to advance a circular economy for plastics. A fully circular business model for plastics will also enable decarbonization and support us on the road to net zero,” adds Diego Donoso, president of Packaging & Specialty Plastics for Dow.
Recycling problematic plastics
The partnership advancement marks an important milestone in the rapid scaling of Mura’s revolutionary HydroPRS (Hydrothermal Plastic Recycling Solution) advanced recycling process, which can be used to recycle all forms of plastic, including flexible and multilayer plastics, which have previously been deemed “unrecyclable.”
Once deployed at scale, it has the capability to prevent millions of tons of plastic and carbon dioxide from entering the environment every year, the partners say.
“The global plastics issue is one of the most pressing environmental issues to date – there is simply no time to waste,” comments Dr. Steve Mahon, CEO of Mura Technology. “Mura’s technology is designed to champion a global circular plastics economy, and our partnership with Dow is a key enabler to bringing HydroPRSTM to every corner of the globe.”
“This next step in our partnership and the resources provided by Dow will allow us to finance and dramatically increase recycling capacity and enable circular plastics to enter global supply chains at scale.”
The world’s first plant using Mura’s HydroPRS process, located in Teesside, UK, is expected to be operational in 2023 with a 20 KT per year production line set to supply Dow with a 100% recycled feedstock.
Support for French recycling
Meanwhile, the new Valoregen-owned plant is expected to be operational by Q4 2023, making an important step in bringing together mechanical recycling and newer, advanced recycling processes, which break down mixed, hard-to-recycle plastics into their original naphtha-like liquid form to manufacture new virgin-like polymers for high-end packaging applications.
Valoregen’s aim is to create a unique ecosystem capable of recycling all forms of plastic waste in one place. Both mechanical and advanced recycling technologies are complementary and essential to achieving Dow’s commitment to incorporate at least 100,000 tons of recycled plastics in its product offerings sold in the EU by 2025.
Dow will be the main recipient of post-consumer resins, which it will use to develop new plastic products marketed under Dow’s Revoloop product range. It will also provide significant expertise in recycling technology to Valoregen to support the development of its capabilities.
Mechanical recycling remains a significant element of Dow’s circularity strategy, including ensuring Valoregen can scale production to increase recycling in Europe. Mechanical recycling currently accounts for the vast majority of plastics recycling. However, rates are still too low. Accordingly, Dow will continue to work with Valoregen to fully develop the ecosystem with advanced recycling.
In related news, Dow recently revealed that its Revoloop post-consumer recycled-rich resins are the first PE compounds to be certified in accordance with the Standard UNE-EN 15343 for plastics recycling traceability and recycled content.
The company also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with one of China’s leading F&B groups, Want-Want, to drive zero-solvent emissions and develop a circular economy for flexible packaging.
Edited by Joshua Poole
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