CHEMICAL RECYCLING

FROM A LINEAR TO A CIRCULAR ECONOMY

Is plastic waste a valuable resource? Yes! Because chemical recycling makes it possible to recycle materials that cannot currently be recycled mechanically. In chemical recycling, a thermochemical process is used to convert post-consumer plastics into raw materials of virgin-grade quality, which we use to produce high-tech films. That means these films can also be used to package products with high quality and hygiene requirements, such as food. 
By using raw materials recovered through chemical recycling, we also support you – in terms of sustainability, resource conservation and the reduction of CO2 emissions. 

Find out here what else SÜDPACK is doing in the area of sustainability.

OF BENEFIT TO EVERYONE – FOR THE ENVIRONMENT’S SAKE

  • The technology of choice for recycling plastic waste that has not been recyclable up to this point, such as multilayer, contaminated and mixed plastics.
  • Replacement of fossil-based raw materials with pyrolysis oil from plastic waste
  • Improved carbon balance thanks to closing loops and repeated reuse of materials 
  • Packaging of products with high requirements in terms of hygiene, mechanical protection, etc., thanks to virgin-grade quality 
  • Approved for direct food contact
  • Contributes to the decarbonization of the plastics industry in the long term

Environmental footprint

A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO SUSTAINABILITY

For the recycling of mixed or contaminated plastics, chemical recycling is a much more sustainable solution in comparison to thermal recycling. This has also been confirmed by a life cycle assessment conducted by Sphera, which was performed on behalf of BASF according to ISO 14040/44. 
Our conclusion: For the responsible use of resources and a functioning circular economy, the entire life cycle of a product must be considered and the most sensible recycling method determined. In the field of mixed and contaminated plastics, chemical recycling is the method of choice in our view:

  • Recycling: 50 % reduction in CO2 emissions with pyrolysis compared to thermal recycling
  • Raw material production: Lower CO2 emissions in the production of plastics by using products based on pyrolysis oil instead of the fossil-based raw material naphtha
  • Closed loops: Materials can be recycled several times in virgin quality
  • Product carbon footprint: The reduction of CO2 emissions helps you improve your product carbon footprint

 
Further information about the environmental footprint of chemical recycling is available here.

Customer projects

ALL THE ENJOYMENT WITHOUT ANY REGRETS

The new chicken meat sausage made by the poultry sausage brand Gutfried is not only “organic” – its packaging is also sustainable. The zur Mühlen Group is the first manufacturer in the sausage industry with an innovative packaging concept in which two-thirds are chemically recycled plastic. The hygienic film composite packaging provides the same high level of product protection and performance as virgin-grade material. As a result, Gutfried organic chicken meat sausage not only stands for all the enjoyment without any regrets, but also for less plastic waste and careful use of limited resources. Because sustainability takes commitment. Each and every day. 

FROM PILOT PROJECT TO MARKET-READY PRODUCT

The new Zottarella package sets standards. Produced with 25 % less fossil-based raw materials than before, it still offers 100 % protection for the balls and rolls of the brand name mozzarella. For Zott, the focus is just as much on safety and shelf life as it is on the reduction of packaging material and the careful use of resources. The prototype that was developed in collaboration with SÜDPACK and BASF from 100 % chemically recycled material turned into the market-ready package that has been in stores since May 2020. “It is an important step towards a functioning recycling loop for plastic waste,” declared Andreas Strunk, Head of Production, Technology & Supply Chain Management at Zott.

Our activities in the field of chemical recycling

SÜDPACK INVESTS IN JOINT PROJECT WITH RECENSO

Together with RECENSO, SÜDPACK advocates the establishment of chemical recycling as a complementary technology to mechanical recycling. RECENSO is a specialist in the implementation of systems for resource recovery and has developed a process for converting mixed plastic fractions. The raw materials that result are made available to the chemical industry to produce virgin-like plastics. The goal of the collaboration is to now use production-related reusable materials as feedstock to once again manufacture product packaging for the food and medical product industries with high quality and hygiene requirements.

A milestone in the recyclability of plastics

On 2 February 2021, a truck filled with crude oil, which was recovered by chemically recycling reusable materials from SÜDPACK, left the RECENSO pilot plant in Ennigerloh near Münster. The goal of the strategic collaboration is to take reusable materials that cannot currently be mechanically recycled and recycle them on an industrial scale using the CARBOLIQ process to recover raw materials and consequently close further loops in the packaging industry.

RELEVANCE FOR SÜDPACK

Plastics offer significant advantages compared to other materials in the field of packaging: In terms of functionality, product protection, weight and their low carbon footprint along the entire value chain. For many applications, even today we cannot forgo the use of materials that are essential, but not mechanically recyclable, in our high-performance films. Chemical recycling is a useful process for the industrial recyclability of such multilayer composites and, together with mechanical recycling, serves to achieve ambitious recycling rates. This is why SÜDPACK is committed to the further development of both recycling processes and develops products that can be recycled mechanically.

IMPORTANT POLYMERS

SÜDPACK’s high-tech films are multilayered. And multifaceted. Especially when it comes to providing a high level of protection. To manufacture our films, we currently use polymers that are presently classified as not mechanically recyclable. Structures that contain such materials can therefore not be reintroduced back into the loop and can also not be readily replaced with alternative concepts. With chemical recycling, however, valuable raw materials can be recovered from these materials. We then manufacture high-performance films of virgin-grade quality with these materials and close loops as a result.

COMPLIANCE FOR FOOD CONTACT

Mechanically recovered recyclates are not generally suitable for all applications, for example for direct contact with food. This means the production of plastic packaging for food and medical products from 100% mechanically recycled plastic is currently practically inconceivable due to the present legal framework as well as special requirements with regard to protecting products and barrier properties. As a result, these recyclates can usually only be incorporated into lower quality products. 

CHEMICAL RECYCLING WHITE PAPER

SÜDPACK does not see plastic packaging as waste after its use, but as a valuable resource. “Which is why we are pushing for the recognition of chemical recycling as a complementary process – and demonstrating with pioneering pilot projects how innovative approaches can make a contribution to closing loops,” explained Carolin Grimbacher.

Contact

DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT CHEMICAL RECYCLING?

We would be happy to give you information and advice on the topic.