Dow aiming to launch fully circular polymers by 2022

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MIDLAND, Mich.—Dow Inc. is taking important steps toward its sustainability targets, announcing plans that will add to the potential of advanced recycling to enable more plastics to be recycled, including flexible plastics used in packaging.

Dow says the projects will, among others, enable it to provide an initial supply of certified, fully-circular polymers to customers starting in 2022. Dow is either in the process of or has already received International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) for each of its major European and U.S. sites.

“The market is placing significant value on circularity and Dow is innovating to address the tremendous unmet demand for circular and low-carbon polymers,” said Diego Donoso, president of Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics.

The innovations include the development of more sustainable products, including 100-percent recyclable solutions or products incorporating recycled or bio-based content.

That work adds to another Dow announcement Oct. 6 to build a zero carbon plastics and feedstocks plant.

Specific projects on tap now include the expansion of Dow’s agreement with Fuenix Ecogy Group to scale circular plastics production through advanced recycling with the construction of a second plant in Weert, the Netherlands. The new plant will process 20,000 metric tons of waste plastic into pyrolysis oil feedstock, which will be used to produce new circular plastic at Dow’s Terneuzen site in the Netherlands.

The company has also finalized an agreement with Gunvor Petroleum Rotterdam that will see Gunvor purify the pyrolysis oil and supply cracker-ready feedstock to Dow. Dow will then use this to produce circular plastics for customers. The purification process is necessary to ensure the pyrolysis oil feedstocks are of sufficient quality to produce new polymers.

Additional pyrolysis oil purification capacity will also be added. Dow is fast-tracking the design, engineering and construction of a market development scale purification unit in Terneuzen.

The company is also expanding projects in the United States. Dow has established a multi-year agreement with New Hope Energy of Tyler, Texas, to supply the company with pyrolysis oil feedstocks derived from plastics recycled in North America.

Dow also recently announced a partnership with Mura Technology to support the rapid scaling of Mura’s new HydroPRS advanced recycling process. Mura’s first plant is in development in Teesside, England, with the first 20,000-tonne-per-year line expected to be operational in 2023, providing Dow with additional recycled feedstocks.

Dow has set targets to enable 1 million metric tons of plastic to be collected, reused or recycled through its direct actions and partnerships by 2030, and to enable 100 percent of its products sold into packaging applications to be reusable or recyclable by 2035.

Through collaboration on leading recycling technologies, Dow said it aims to meet these targets, as well as to enable “the future we envision, the sustainable, resource-efficient production of circular plastics, to preserve the tremendous environmental benefits of plastics, including the critical role plastics play in reducing carbon emissions,” Donoso said.