Dow Goes Full Bore to Advance Circularity

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Dow today announced a full-court press to substantially expand its worldwide recycling ecosystem by helping to build a number of mechanical and advanced recycling facilities and using the post-consumer materials they generate in its products.

During the company’s second-quarter earnings call, Dow CEO Jim Fitterling discussed the investments, which are intended to divert more waste plastics from landfills and make Dow the largest consumer of recycled-plastic feedstock for polyethylene.

The three major initiatives are:

  • A collaboration with UK advanced recycling company Mura Technology to build multiple facilities across the United States and Europe and add up to 600 kilotons of advanced recycling capacity by 2030. Dow will be the primary consumer of the circular feed to come from each of the 120-kiloton facilities.

The project marks a significant scaleup of Mura’s HydroPRS (Hydrothermal Plastic Recycling Solution) advanced recycling process for all types of plastics, including flexible and multilayer materials deemed unrecyclable. The first plant to use the technology, in Teesside, UK, will feature a 20-kiloton-per-year production line and is set to begin operations next year.

“Mura’s technology is designed to champion a global circular plastics economy, and our partnership with Dow is a key enabler to bringing HydroPRS to every corner of the globe,” said Mura CEO Steve Mahon.

  • A plan to build an advanced recycling facility in Dallas with Nexus Circular to process and convert more than 26,000 metric tons of hard-to-recycle plastic into a circular feedstock that Dow will use to create new plastics for health, hygiene, fitness, and food applications. Dow and Nexus have been partners in the Hefty EnergyBag program, which promotes reuse of hard-to-recycle plastics through residential curbside collection. This expansion of the partnership will build on the success of that program, which has diverted more than 1,800 tons of such plastics from landfills so far.

“We now have an even greater opportunity to close the loop on Dow’s materials through the delivery of Nexus’ circular products back to our plants, further accelerating progress toward our 2030 goal to enable one million metric tons of plastic to be collected, reused, or recycled,” said Manav Lahoti, Global Sustainability Director for Hydrocarbons at Dow.

  • An agreement to contribute to building a hybrid recycling facility in Damazan, France, with French recycling company Valoregen and to serve as the primary user of post-consumer recycled plastics from the 70-kiloton-a-year plant. The facility, expected to go online in the first quarter of 2023, will eventually combine advanced and mechanical recycling. By recycling all forms of plastic in one place, Valoregen will help Dow reach its goal of incorporating at least 100,000 tons of recycled plastics in products it sells in the EU by 2025 under its REVOLOOP brand. A smart energy management system will be key to achieving greater than 80% yield; conventional mechanical recycling typically achieves 60% to 70% efficiency on average.