BASF joins the Circular Plastics Alliance
September 23, 2019
BASF is member of the EU’s Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA). On Friday, September 20, Wolfgang Weber, head of the BASF Brussels office, and representatives from about 60 other companies and associations have signed a declaration in Brussels committing themselves to actions which will help that 10 million tons of recycled plastic find their way into new products per year as of 2025.
Under the auspices of the European Commission, the industry along the entire value chain from plastic producers to brand owners has publicly committed itself to promote the use of more recycled plastics in Europe through voluntary action. BASF highly appreciates this initiative of the EU-Commission and expects technology-open joint work with the plastics value chain and politics about measures to improve design for recycling where appropriate, improve the collection and sorting of plastic waste, monitoring systems and the support of research and development.
BASF’s contribution to achieve the CPA’s recycling target will be the ChemCyclingTM project which is currently in the pilot phase. BASF is developing chemical recycling of plastics to provide a solution for materials which are currently not recycled, e.g. mixed plastics, plastics with legacy substances or degraded after previous mechanical recycling. First batches of waste-based pyrolysis oil obtained by third parties have been fed into BASF’s steam cracker at the Ludwigshafen site, where it was split into mainly ethylene and propylene. These chemicals in turn formed the basis for production of new plastics. First prototype products include food packaging, refrigerator components and transportation boxes. The proportion of the recycled raw material is allocated to the end products using a certified mass balance approach.
To move from the pilot phase to market roll-out, however, various issues will need to be resolved. For chemical recycling to find acceptance in the market, regulators must recognize the process officially as recycling. Within this framework, they have to define how chemical recycling and mass balance approaches can be included in the calculation of recycling rates required by law. The existing technologies for transforming waste plastics into recycled raw materials must be advanced and adapted for the use at industrial scale, in order to ensure the consistently high quality of the pyrolysis oil. BASF is currently investigating various options for supplying the company’s Production Verbund with commercial volumes of pyrolysis oil in the long term. Besides the technical issues, economic aspects also play a role.
Hartwig Michels, President Petrochemicals, BASF: „To achieve the goal of the Circular Plastics Alliance, the whole plastics value chain will have to get engaged. Therefore, we hope that even more companies will join the CPA.”