AUSTRIA – Austrian chemical company, Borealis has announced plans to build a first-of-its-kind commercial-scale advanced mechanical recycling plant to be located in Schwechat, Austria.

Based on the company’s Borcycle M technology, the process is hoped to result in over 60 kilotonnes of advanced mechanical recycled polyolefin solutions and compounds per year.

The company claims that the new plant was inspired by positive feedback from a previous demo plant in Lahnstein, Germany – a joint enterprise between Borealis, TOMRA, and Zimmermann – to process rigid and flexible household waste and test its success for a commercial-scale advanced recycling plant.

Mechanical recycling plays a key role in Borealis’ approach to achieving circularity, as shown in the integrated cascade model.

The new plant will expand Borealis’ capabilities in this area, following on from the acquisitions of plastic recyclers mtm plastics in 2016, and Ecoplast Kunstoffrecycling in 2018.

The front-end engineering design (FEED) stage for the plant will be carried out by Nextchem, specialists in the field of green chemistry and technologies for the energy transition.

Upon successful completion of the FEED phase, Borealis expects to take a final investment decision in the second half of 2023 and start construction by the end of 2023. The first volumes of recycled polyolefin products are expected in 2025.

The plant will support Borealis to deliver on its sustainability commitments, which target a supply capacity of 600 kilotonnes of circular products and solutions globally by 2025, further increasing to 1.8 million tonnes by 2030.

Lucrèce Foufopoulos-DeRidder, Executive Vice President of Polyolefins, Circular Economy Solutions and Innovation & Technology at Borealis said: “With our purpose to reinvent essentials for sustainable living, Borealis is committed to rapidly increasing the share of recycled content across a wide range of high-performance polyolefins.

“Proof-in-point of the EverMinds mindset, this step demonstrates how innovative technology continues to advance circularity.”

Early this month, the company partnered with Vibac Group to design a new BOPP-based film for food packaging, reportedly designed for easy sorting in PP recycling streams.

The new packaging is supposedly compatible with mechanical recycling, where it is thought to be ‘easily sorted’ into PP waste streams, and with existing conversion machinery.

It is hoped that, by utilizing BOPP, the film will be cost- and resource-efficient and will extend the shelf life of the food products it contains.

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