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Sustainability

Mechanical Recycling

As part of its ChemCyclingTM project, BASF invested €20 million into Quantafuel, a start-up headquartered in Oslo, Norway. Quantafuel is specialized in the pyrolysis of mixed plastic waste and the purification of the resulting oil. BASF feeds the pyrolysis oil from Quatanfuel’s plant in Skive in its production Verbund in Ludwigshafen and further processes it into new chemical products by using a mass balance approach. The products have the same quality as products from fossil raw materials. BASF and Quantafuel are also working closely together to further develop and optimize Quantafuel’s technology.

Mechanical recycling moves the circular economy

Mechanical recycling is an essential component of the circular economy. It can be applied to various material classes like plastics, lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, or metals. End-of-life materials can be processed via collecting, sorting, shredding, melting and transforming it into secondary raw materials for a new application. Manufactured from recycled material, the article enters its new use-phase before the next end-of-life management. 

For plastic waste, mechanical recycling is the preferred recycling solution if ecologically most beneficial, technologically possible, and economically attractive. Chemical recycling will complement mechanical recycling.

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Discover how BASF creates new value for plastics in the era of sustainability with VALERAS™

BASF has developed tailor-made materials and processes for mechanical recycling solutions. Some examples: 

  • Thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) enable the design of one-material shoes which can be completely mechanically recycled.
  • Our plastic additives improve the quality and subsequent performance of mechanically recycled plastics.
  • Adhesives and cleaning solutions support mechanical recycling processes of used PET, improving both the process and the quality of the recyclate.
  • Solutions for sorting and tracing, such as BASF’s subsidiary trinamiX’ mobile Near-Infrared (NIR) Spectroscopy Solution to identify plastics for easier sorting

But there is more than plastics: BASF also engages in the recycling of precious metals and lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. Find out more below. 

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Mechanical recycling of plastics

Recycling of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and catalytic converters

Complementary solutions for circularity of plastics

The collaboration is part of BASF’s ChemCyclingTM project which focusses on chemically reprocessing post-consumer plastic waste on an industrial scale. The pyrolysis oil is fed into the BASF Verbund in Ludwigshafen, thereby replacing fossil resources. The share of recycled raw material is allocated to certain products manufactured in the Verbund by using a third-party audited mass balance approach. The products which carry the name suffix “CcycledTM” have the exact same properties as those manufactured from fossil feedstock. Customers can therefore further process them in the same way as conventionally manufactured products and use them in applications with high demands regarding quality and performance, such as automotive parts.

ChemCyclingTM

To increase overall recycling rates of plastics and avoid incineration or landfill, mechanical recycling can be complemented by chemical recycling. It is a recommended solution for plastic waste streams which are not recycled mechanically for technological, economic or ecological reasons.

How ecovio® contributes to closing the nutrient cycle towards a Circular Economy With the certified compostable plastic ecovio®, BASF has developed a material portfolio for a variety of applications which can be used throughout the entire food cycle and thus support Circular Economy – from  production via packaging and transport to the waste collection of food. 	  Photo: BASF 2019

Biopolymers

Biodegradable plastics close the nutrient loop in special applications. Read more about how certified biodegradable plastics contribute to Circular Economy.

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Biomass balance approach

BASF’s biomass balance approach contributes to the use of renewable raw materials in BASF's integrated production system and can be applied to the majority of BASF's product portfolio.