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Chemical recycling as an essential component of a closed-loop plastics industry

Oiling instead of incineration cuts emissions and saves resources

At SÜDPACK, we want to make closed-loop systems possible for all types of plastic packaging and therefore contribute to circular production in our industry. That’s why we are investing in chemical recycling as an alternative for composites which can’t be mechanically recycled and are therefore currently consigned to thermal utilization.

Chemical recycling can create valuable raw material from many of these composites for the production of virgin-grade plastic granules. The granules can then be used to manufacture e.g. high-performance films. Current legislation prohibits the use of mechanically recycled plastics for use in direct contact with packaged food, medical, and pharmaceutical products for reasons of quality and hygiene. This is why we see chemical recycling as a complementary method to mechanical recycling and an innovative solution that can contribute to a sustainable, closed-loop economy.

Various LCAs confirm that chemical recycling is superior to thermal utilization, in particular in terms of carbon footprint. It enables closed-loop carbon processes and can therefore make a crucial contribution to resource saving and reducing CO2 emissions in the plastics industry.

Advantages of chemical recycling

In the balancing act between the performance of a packaging material, sustainability, and a functional closed-loop economy, SÜDPACK offers a solution in the form of chemical recycling with clear green credentials. Life cycle assessments show that chemical recycling of plastic waste can achieve significant carbon savings compared to thermal utilization of these materials. Especially in the food, medical, and pharmeuticals industries, the resulting virgin-grade oil and the plastic granules produced from it can substitute fossil resources and reduce their consumption. 

Carbon savings from chemical recycling


The carboliq process

Back in 2020, SÜPACK invested in an innovative technology named carboliq. The market-ready technology recovers oil from various plastic fractions. What makes it so different is its flexibility. The infeed materials don’t necessarily need a polyolefin origin. Carboliq can also recycle contaminated, mixed plastic waste and highly complex multilayer films composed of several types of plastic into a high-quality CLR (circular liquid resource).


Closed-loop models in practice

We have already successfully implemented initial pilot projects with customers. In one of these projects, we produced oil from e.g. contaminated cheese maturing bags by means of chemical recycling. This primary plastic was used to manufacture granules for high-performance films used in turn for the manufacture of packagings for end customers. The materials generated have the same technical properties and performance as fossil-based raw materials. This project paves the way to a closed-loop system for high-performance films.

We would be happy to determine the carbon savings potential your company can achieve with chemical recycling, taking into account your sustainability goals.