Braskem has launched a new study to develop a chemical recycling process for post-consumer plastics, such as grocery bags and packaging films for snacks and cookies.
The research is being conducted in partnership with the polymer engineering laboratory at the University of Rio de Janeiro’s Alberto Luiz Coimbra research institute.
Other project partners include the SENAI Institute for Innovation in Biosynthetics and Cetrel, an environmental service company, Braskem announced Feb. 14.
The program will seek to further research into technologies that can transform plastics that are difficult to recycle mechanically into new chemical products.
The Braskem release provided no further details about the duration or funding of the project.
“As we strive to reach a true circular economy, we recognise the challenges and limitations posed by traditional recycling technologies,” said Gus Hutras, head of Process Technology at Braskem.
Chemical recycling, he went on to say, will help Braskem overcome the challenges.
The investment in technology development complements Braskem’s recent policies to contribute to circular economy.
The company published a set of initiatives in November last year, outlining its sustainability objectives.
Titled “Braskem’s positioning for the circular economy,” the blueprint sets a target of having all plastic packaging reused, recycled or recovered by 2040.
The document also envisages forging partnerships with clients to develop new products that will extend and facilitate the recycling and reuse of plastic packaging, especially single-use packaging.
The Braskem guideline also stipulates that further investment should be made in new resins from renewable sources.
Braskem already produces “I’m Green” polyethylene resins, using ethanol from sugarcane as its feedstock.
The Brazilian petrochemical company launched its Wecycle platform in 2015 in a bid to further advance the recycling of waste plastics.
The platform has entered into partnerships with players across the recycling chain to add value to post-consumer plastics.