Across the world, plastics improve our quality of life and play a critical role in advancing a wide range of sustainability efforts. Yet, globally we face the growing problem of plastic waste in the environment. As a top producer of polypropylene, LyondellBasell believes that finding a solution to the plastic waste challenge requires collaboration from across the full value chain, new partnerships between industry, governments and NGOs, and focused innovation. LyondellBasell is committed to playing an active role in supporting industry commitments to ensure 100 percent of plastic packaging worldwide is reused, recycled and/or recovered by 2040.
In the United States, LyondellBasell recently focused its efforts on three projects helping to advance recycling infrastructure and end markets for recycled products.
LyondellBasell recently joined the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition led by The Recycling Partnership, a new initiative aiming to improve polypropylene recycling infrastructure to make plastic recycling easy and straight forward for consumers. The Coalition is supported by funders and has a goal of raising $35 million over the next five years, with LyondellBasell investing $150,000 in the first year of the project. This effort demonstrates cross-industry collaboration to aid in the recovery and recycling of this invaluable plastic.
“With goals to help eliminate plastic waste, LyondellBasell is aiding in increasing recycling infrastructure through their investment in projects around the world. These projects are helping pave the way to support an overall more circular economy." - Palmer Giddings, Sr. Director, Polyolefins Americas, LyondellBasell
In addition to the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition, LyondellBasell has invested in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) Secondary Sorting Project, which also aims to help advance recycling infrastructure. The PNW Secondary Sorting Project was initiated in 2019 and led by the Plastics Industry Association, along with other industry partners. The Project captured a broad range of materials from the residential recycling stream that would have otherwise ended up in landfill. The PNW Secondary Sorting Project’s results suggest that a regional secondary sorting Material Recovery Facility (MRF) would not only increase material recovery by about 50,000 tons per year and reduce waste in landfills, but would generate 46 clean technology jobs, improve residential recycling recovery from 3 to 5%, and reduce the generation of greenhouse gases by more than 130,000 tons per year.
The New End Market Opportunities (NEMO) Recycled PE project was launched in 2017 in Washington state. By 2020, it aims to better understand the different streams of polyethylene films and identify end-market opportunities for recycled films. The NEMO Asphalt Working Group initiated research on the use of recycled polyethylene (rPE) film blends in asphalt. LyondellBasell agreed to be a part of this research project involving recycled polyethylene film in asphalt, and used this product to pave of one of the parking lots at the Cincinnati Technical Center.
“Identifying new demand for recycled polyethylene films will greatly help to counterbalance the oversupply of film in the market today. By undertaking this type of new end-market exploration together, and in a precompetitive space, we advance everyone’s understanding of this material and help identify new opportunities for recycled plastics more quickly.” - Kim Holmes, VP of Sustainability, at Plastics Industry Association
By investing in projects like the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition, the Pacific Northwest Secondary Sorting Project, and the NEMO Recycled PE Project, LyondellBasell is demonstrating its commitment to helping end plastic waste in the environment.
Photo was taken prior to COVID-19 at the PNW Sorting Project