Global materials firm Ravago Group plans to work with oil firm Neste Oyj to process more than 200,000 tons of waste plastics per year through chemical recycling.
"Through collaborating in chemical recycling, Neste and Ravago wish to accelerate circularity of materials and improve resource efficiency in the petrochemical industry," officials with both firms said in a Nov. 12 news release.
They added that Luxembourg-based Ravago and Neste of Finland want to provide more sustainable alternatives to primary fossil feedstock.
"Chemical recycling of plastic waste will enable the petrochemical industry to meet its recycling targets and develop a more sustainable, climate-friendlier offering," officials said.
In the release, Ravago CEO Theo Roussis said that his firm "has been mechanically recycling polymers for nearly 60 years, however chemical recycling should be part of a sustainable solution that our society requires today to address the growing need for valorising consumer waste."
"We want to give a definitive answer to the plastic waste issue," he added.
Neste executive Mercedes Alonso said in the release that "Ravago's geographical reach and expertise in plastics recycling together with Neste's track record in upgrading challenging refinery feedstock provide an excellent foundation for demonstrating and scaling up chemical recycling with speed."
She added that working with Ravago will help Neste meet its goal of processing more than 1 million tons of plastic waste from 2030 onward. Doing so would increase Europe's post-consumer plastic waste recycling rate 25-30 percent from its current level, said Alonso, who is Neste's executive vice president of renewable polymers and chemicals.
Chemical recycling will enable the companies to upgrade even colored and mixed plastic packaging waste into high-quality raw material for production of new plastics, chemicals and fuels, officials added. Unlike mechanically recycled plastics, they said that chemical recycling enables waste plastic to be used as raw material even in sensitive applications, such as in primary food packaging as well as pharmaceutical and health care applications.
Neste posted sales of €14.9 billion ($16.7 billion) in 2018. The firm recently placed third on the Global 100 list of the most sustainable companies in the world.
Ravago employs 7,000 and sells more than 12 billion pounds of resins and compounds per year. The firm's compounding and recycling facilities have more than two billion pounds of annual production capacity. Ravago mechanically recycles almost 700 million pounds of plastic waste per year and has set a goal of tripling this volume in the next decade.