Plastics, chemicals and refining company LyondellBasell has successfully started up its MoReTec plastic molecular recycling plant at its Ferrara site in Italy.
Its proprietary MoReTec advanced recycling technology aims to return post-consumer plastic waste to its molecular form for use as a feedstock for new plastic materials.
The new plastic materials created using this technology can be used in food packaging and healthcare items, that need to meet strict regulatory requirements.
LyondellBasell senior vice president of research & development, technology and sustainability Jim Seward said: “Ending plastic waste in the environment and advancing the circular economy are key sustainability focus areas for our company.
“With our advanced plastics recycling technology, we return larger volumes of plastic waste back into the value chain and produce new materials for high-quality applications, retaining their value for as long as possible.”
The pilot plant is capable of processing between 5 and 10kgs of household plastic waste per hour and builds on its research to date.
This facility is designed to help the company understand the interaction of various waste types in the molecular recycling process, test the various catalysts, and confirm the process temperature and time needed to decompose the plastic waste into molecules.
It is hoped this will be completed within a couple of years, when the development of an industrial scale facility will begin. Already, its R&D teams in Germany, Italy and United States are working to explore potential commercial-scale applications.
Since July 2018, LyondellBasell has been working with Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology to advance its molecular recycling efforts.