LyondellBasell to produce 2m tonnes/year of recycled, renewable polymer

Author: Tom Brown

2020/09/28

LONDON (ICIS)--LyondellBasell is to increase its production of recycled and renewable-based polymers by 2030 as part of a raft of new sustainability targets unveiled by the firm on Monday.

A sustainability review has led to new plans to drastically increase the volumes of recycled and renewable-based plastics the olefins and polymers producer manufactures over the next decade, as well as developing its waste plastic recovery spending.

The commitment is one of the largest announced in the sustainable plastics sector so far, following consumer goods producer Nestle’s plans to invest Swiss francs 1.5bn up to 2025 to source 2m tonnes/ tonnes of food-grade recycled plastics. LyondellBasell did not disclose the estimated cost of its own plans.

The current mechanical recycling collection capacity across Europe for recycled polyethylene (R-PET) stands at 2.1m tonnes/year based on 2018 bottle collection rates, according to ICIS data, whereas for high- and low-density PE (R-LDPE and R-HDPE) the current levels in the region stand at approximately 700,000-800,000 tonnes/year apiece, according to market sources.

Despite the scale of the pledge, the targets are achievable, according to LyondellBasell vice president of research and development, technology and sustainability, Jim Seward.

“Our goals underscore what we see possible in the next decade, and our sustainability ambitions require us to adapt our business models,” he said.

LyondellBasell has developed proprietary plastics recycling technology and has completed the first parallel production of PP and LDPE from renewable raw materials at a commercial scale.

The company is also planning to reduce its carbon dioxide (CO2) levels by 15% compared to 2015 levels by the same deadline, appoint a diversity and inclusion officer and work with other producers and industry trade groups to ensure 100% of plastic packaging is reused, recycled or recovered by 2040.

Thumbnail picture: LyondellBasell's production facility in Wesseling, Germany. Source: LyondellBasell

Additional reporting by Mark Victory