The push to sell more recycled PE is part of NOVA’s broader initiative to reduce CO2 emissions. | Photo Courtesy of NOVA Chemicals

NOVA Chemicals is looking to increase the amount of recycled PE it sells, improve its mechanical recycling capabilities and further explore chemical recycling technologies

John Thayer, senior vice president of sales and marketing, told Plastics Recycling Update that NOVA “has a lot to bring to the table here as a resin producer, with significant resources for innovation, in addition to a deep knowledge of our customers’ needs.” 

According to its recent “Roadmap to Sustainability” report, the company wants to have at least 30% of its PE sales come from recycled content by 2030 to “set new industry standards for driving the transition to the plastics circular economy and solidifying the market for recycled polyethylene.” 

Thayer said he expects to see strong demand for both PE and recycled PE globally and in North America through 2030, “driven by strong interest from consumers, brands and customers for sustainable packaging applications.” 

“We are confident in the value of RPE as a low-carbon solution and the high demand for recycled resin from brand owners,” he said. 

Reaching that 30% will come from both more sales of NOVA’s three currently commercialized resins under the SYNDIGO brand and an expansion into more resin types over the coming years, Thayer noted. 

NOVA plans to build on its proprietary Advanced SCLAIRTECH technology to expand its product portfolio. Newer offerings include the company’s first ASTUTE polyolefin plastomers line and SYNDIGO recycled PE. 

On the mechanical recycling side, Thayer said the company sees mechanically recycled PE as a “critical part of the solution for recycled content in packaging.” 

“It’s here, it’s now, it’s a low-emission solution and it’s improving all the time,” he said. 

Beyond mechanical recycling

The company is also collaborating with biofuels company Enerkem and expediting construction of a pilot-scale reactor system to convert syngas from non-recyclable and non-compostable plastics to feedstocks for virgin-grade plastics, Thayer added. 

“We continue to explore world-leading and proven technologies in advanced recycling, such as pyrolysis and gasification, to create high-quality, high-performance, recyclable and low-carbon plastics for food-grade and other applications,” he noted.

NOVA also plans to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 absolute CO2 emissions by 30% and to invest between $2 billion and $4 billion by 2030 to reach all of its goals, a press release noted.

Thayer said the company’s two innovation centers in Calgary have more than 200 scientists, engineers and technologists “innovating every day and working to improve today’s applications and redesign packaging to meet the demands of a circular economy, including the incorporation of recycled PE.”

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