Circular Economy at BASF
For BASF, circular economy is much more than waste management. The aim is to close cycles and use products and resources in the best way possible across the entire value chain.
The circular economy model has been gaining ground in politics, industry and society over the last years. Behind this idea is a change away from the linear model of “take-make-dispose“ to a system of closed loops powered by renewable energy. The chemical industry and its innovations can lead the way in this change. BASF is already applying circular economy in a number of ways.
Circular economy thinking cannot be restricted to a company’s own operations. It needs to run across the value chain to embrace and provide value to customers and suppliers.
A smart circular economy concept has to be integrated within product development, production processes, use and re-use systems right from the beginning.
Elements of the circular economy model:
- Keep resources in use for as long as possible
- Minimize disposed residual waste
- Extract the maximum value from products
- Recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of service life
BASF pursues two complementary approaches
Keep it smart approach
“Keep it Smart” implies continued efforts to increase efficiency within our own production processes; in our customers’ production processes; and for the end user as well, in order to avoid waste generation.
One example of BASF’s contribution to CE is the Verbund principle. The Verbund system creates efficient value chains from basic chemicals right through to high-value-added products such as coatings and crop protection products. To produce that variety of solutions the by-products of one plant are used as raw materials of another. In this system, chemical processes consume less energy, create less waste and therefore conserve resources.
Many of BASF’s products enable our B2B customers to save resources in their production through an efficient use of our materials. Several of our solutions help our customers to develop final products that are longer lasting, for examples additives for plastic or concrete.
Biodegradable and biobased products reduce waste at the end of the product life. One example is ecovio®, a biodegradable plastic used in applications such as the collection of bio waste.
Close the loops approach
“Close the loops” aims to close the loops for example by recovering metals after the end of life of automotive catalytic converters, and re-using them in production. Another example is the biomass balance approach, where BASF is replacing a certain amount of fossil raw materials with renewable feedstock, which is partially derived from waste, as input in chemical processes. This amount can then be allocated to the respective sales products using the novel certification method.