LyondellBasell starts commercial production of polymers

LyondellBasell has announced another step towards its ambition to advance the circular economy by making virgin quality polymers from raw materials derived from plastic waste at its Wesseling, Germany, site. Produced by the thermal conversion of plastic waste, this raw material is converted into ethylene and propylene in the LyondellBasell production facilities, and then processed into polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) in the downstream units for plastics production. The first use of raw material derived from plastic waste follows the company’s successful production of plastic materials made from renewable-based raw materials such as used cooking oil, which helps to reduce CO2 over the product life cycle and reduce the use of fossil-based raw materials.

“Advancing the circular economy requires definitive action and by consistently using these new raw materials in the production of polymers on a commercial scale, we are doing our part to help eliminate plastic waste and address climate change,” says Richard Roudeix, SVP olefins & polyolefins for Europe, Middle East, Africa and India. “We are expanding our range of sustainable solutions through our Circulen brand and the use of recycled content, offering our customers a way to use recycled polymers in a wide variety of applications.”

The products made from recycled and renewable-based raw materials will be marketed by LyondellBasell under the Circulen brand name enabling brand owners to improve the sustainability of consumer products. They enable the production of high-quality plastics for strictly controlled applications such as food packaging and healthcare items. The LyondellBasell facilities manufacturing these products are certified according to the ISCC (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification) PLUS standard.

LyondellBasell has pledged to reduce CO2 emissions in its operations worldwide by 15% per ton of product produced by 2030 compared with 2015 levels and produce and market two million metric tons per year of recycled or renewable-based polymers by 2030.

Additionally, LyondellBasell commissioned a pilot plant last year in Ferrara, Italy, to further develop its molecular recycling technology where plastic waste is converted into raw materials for the production of new plastics. The use of plastic waste under real-life conditions helps to further improve research efforts, the goal of which is to build a possible industrial-scale molecular recycling plant, which will further grow the use of raw material derived from plastic waste to produce new plastics.

These developments complement LyondellBasell’s activities in the field of mechanical recycling. Here, the Dutch joint venture Quality Circular Polymers (QCP) produces high-quality polyethylene and polypropylene grades from household waste, which are also marketed under the Circulen brand. These polymers are used, for example, in electrical appliances, detergent bottles and travel cases.