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Packaging companies recently announced they will purchase recycled resin produced through ExxonMobil’s chemical recycling technology. | Katherine Welles/Shutterstock

Multiple companies announced they will be increasing their use of chemically recycled plastics in pursuit of their recycled-content goals, and a consumer goods group said it supports chemical recycling.

Amcor using more recycled PE

Amcor announced it will purchase recycled PE produced through ExxonMobil’s Exxtend technology. The company did not disclose how much it will buy.

The packaging company pledged that all of its packaging will be recyclable or reusable by 2025. In 2021, it used 113,000 metric tons of recycled material, a press release said.

“Amcor will leverage this new material across its global portfolio, providing customers in healthcare and food industries with more recycled content in a variety of solutions and applications,” the press release said.

Companies collaborate on flexible plastics

Packaging producer Sealed Air, ExxonMobil and Ahold Delhaize USA will partner to recycle flexible plastics from the food supply chain into new food-grade packaging.

The initiative is expected to begin this summer and scale over time, a press release said, and will also use ExxonMobil’s Exxtend technology.

Brittni Furrow, vice president of health and sustainability for grocery chain company Ahold Delhaize USA said the company is “eager to learn from this work and apply the learnings to advance our own plastics ambitions, but also advance these efforts broadly, helping to ensure a better tomorrow for our planet.”

Consumer goods consortium supports chemical recycling

The Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) Plastic Waste Coalition of Action published “Chemical Recycling in a Circular Economy for Plastics,” a paper that encourages the development of plastics recycling technologies in a credible, safe and environmentally sound way.

The group also published a life cycle assessment arguing that chemically recycling hard-to-recycle plastics could reduce the climate impact of plastic, when compared to waste-to-energy processes.

The coalition is “working to encourage recycling innovation to close the loop, including chemical recycling to complement the growing mechanical capacity,” a press release said.

To make sure chemical recycling is developed safely and in an environmentally friendly way, the paper suggests implementing material traceability and paying attention to yields, environmental impact, health and safety.

Colin Kerr, packaging director for Unilever, said in the press release that “as we continue to reduce the use of virgin plastic, new technologies such as chemical recycling can help drive up recycling rates and increase the availability of food-grade recycled materials.”

“The principles and life cycle assessment work from The Consumer Goods Forum is key to ensuring this can happen in a safe and environmentally sound way,” Kerr added.

Nova Chemicals, Enerkem pilot chemical recycling tech

Nova Chemicals and Enerkem have moved their Alberta-based chemical recycling technology to the pilot stage after getting 4.5 million Canadian dollars (about $3.5 million) from Alberta Innovates.

The funding from Alberta Innovates’ Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Economic Recovery Program allowed the companies to speed up construction of a pilot-scale reactor system to convert syngas from used, non-recyclable and non-compostable plastics to feedstocks for virgin-grade plastics, a press release said.

“By taking waste streams that are otherwise non-recyclable, we can complement mechanical recycling efforts and provide an important solution to close the gap between recycling targets and the important role plastics play in our daily lives,” said Michel Chornet, executive vice president of engineering, innovation and operations at Enerkem. “The project aims to expand the types of materials that can be recycled and increase recycling rates while reducing emissions from incineration.”

New Ohio chemical plant moves forward

Freepoint Eco-Systems is moving ahead in building a chemical recycling plant in Hebron, Ohio, after it got an International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISSC) PLUS Certificate.

The facility will convert about 90,000 tons of plastic per year into feedstock for the production of new plastic. It’s expected to come on-line in 2023.

ISCC is a certification organization for companies that want to create traceable supply chains for the circular economy.

“Obtaining ISCC certification represents a substantial commitment to environmental protection and sustainability,” a press release said.

According to the release, the certification is a five-step process with an impartial third-party auditor.

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