INTERVIEW: Cyclyx consortium gains momentum with new members – Agilyx CEO
NEW YORK (ICIS)–The Cyclyx International consortium which aims to build out an ecosystem to boost global plastics recycling rates from a current 10% to 90%, is gaining momentum with more diverse members joining, the CEO of Agilyx said.
“It is extremely dynamic and we’re beginning to build out the consortium much more broadly,” said Tim Stedman, CEO of recycling technology company Agilyx, in an interview with ICIS.
Agilyx has a 75% stake in Cyclyx with joint venture partner ExxonMobil owning the remaining 25%.
Most recently, more downstream manufacturers such as Velcro Companies, Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS) and Sealed Air have joined Cyclyx as they seek more access to recycled plastics content. Cyclyx can also serve as an outlet for post-industrial plastics waste.
This follows an initial surge of major plastics resins producers joining as members after Cyclyx was launched in June 2020.
“The whole concept was that within this circular economy, there’s all this waste hanging around waiting to be converted, and it’s just not true. You have got to take waste and make it into a useable feedstock for it to be converted, and that’s the gap Cyclyx is plugging,” said Stedman.
“The initial stage of that was this endless chicken-and-egg discussion. Some people had control of waste, and would like it to be recycled, but who was going to take it? And on the other side you had people saying we want to drive towards the circular economy, but don’t know where the waste is coming from, and we can’t invest until we know. You had this constant battle,” he added.
ExxonMobil’s investment in Cyclyx put a flag in the ground in terms of committing to the offtake, thus breaking the chicken-and-egg conundrum, he noted.
Cyclyx continued to build out the offtake side of the equation by getting major producers on board – SABIC, LyondellBasell, Dow, INEOS, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Americas Styrenics (AmSty) and Braskem. NOVA Chemicals is the latest major resins producer member, having joined in March 2022.
“Now when you start to look at the other parts of the supply chain that need to be built, this doesn’t exist today in any form that’s going to address the needs of the circular economy, driving recycling rates,” said Stedman.
However, with the heft of the major resins producers in the consortium committing to offtake, the other critical parts of the supply chain – such as waste collection, takeback programmes and logistics – can now start to be developed in a more robust fashion.
“Now people understand and can see what Cyclyx adds in terms of joining the dots, translating between those various paths, being able to build out new supply chains, and leveraging technology and data,” said Stedman.
“And now you’re seeing a lot more members coming in from other parts of the value chain – from life sciences, manufacturers and those in the retail space who want to either have a better use of their waste than going to landfill or incineration, or want to encourage the rest of the value chain to provide them with recycled materials. This is now building out across the spectrum and it’s really very exciting,” he added.
In March, US-based BNSF Railway joined Cyclyx to help develop circular economy logistics and rail solutions.
In September 2021, MilliporeSigma, the US-based life sciences business of Germany-based Merck KGaA, joined Cyclyx to help develop more single-use plastics recycling programmes for life sciences companies.