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ACC Members Contributions to Reimagining Resources

AmSty Joint Venture Regenyx Converts Used Polystyrene into New Materials

Sustainability Challenge:

Current recycling technology limits recyclability of used polystyrene products into high-value second life items, so discarded polystyrene products frequently end up in a landfill.

Chemistry Solution:

Converting used polystyrene products back into their original feedstock form enables manufacture of brand-new products, without degradation in quality.

Sustainability Benefit:

In 2019, Regenyx converted more than 800,000 pounds of polystyrene waste into recycled styrene monomer – equivalent to about 30 million foam cups. Today the total amount of recycled product exceeds 1 million pounds.

AmSty’s long-term vision is for no used polystyrene product ever to be landfilled, but to be captured and reused again and again. In April 2019, AmSty and Agilyx formed a joint venture, called Regenyx – a first-of-its kind chemical recycling facility in Tigard, Oregon, designed to make that goal a reality.

The company converts post use polystyrene products back into their original feedstock form, recycled styrene monomer or RSM. Once the solid polystyrene material is de-polymerized into liquid RSM, it can be re-polymerized through AmSty’s standard process and formed into new products, without degradation of quality or value. Agilyx’s technology deployed in the Regenyx facility can process nearly any level of contamination, and the resulting RSM can be refined by AmSty into new products that are FDA-certified for food-contact.

Regenyx began processing polystyrene into RSM in early 2019, with shipments going to AmSty shortly afterward. By mid-2019, RSM was being processed back into new polystyrene, completing a truly circular recycling loop. In 2019, Regenyx converted approximately 800,000 pounds of polystyrene into recycled styrene monomer – equivalent to about 30 million foam cups or 26 million restaurant takeout containers.

Phase 2 of the project is to develop a larger regional facility to increase recycling scale and access to waste. Early evaluations have already begun to identify options for the plant, optimizing material conservation and downstream supply chain logistics.

Additional project goals include increasing polystyrene collection at the curbside level and improving MRF capacity for polystyrene sorting and recycling. Working towards those goals, AmSty has made investments in the Foam Recycling Coalition’s densifier grant program managed through the Food Packaging Institute. In addition, AmSty is working with major metropolitan public service departments to capture discarded polystyrene streams for processing at Regenyx, bringing polystyrene recycling access to millions of additional residents.

Eastman Introducing Innovative Recycling Solutions to Help Address Global Waste Plastic and Advance Circular Economy

Sustainability Challenge:

In the United States and Canada, while traditional mechanical recycling programs work well for recycling many plastic containers, these traditional technologies do not necessarily have the capability to process and recycle many other types of post-consumer plastics.

Chemistry Solution:

Chemical recycling technologies being engineered and implemented by Eastman offer new circular solutions for waste plastic materials that are currently landfilled or incinerated.

Sustainability Benefit:

A range of discarded plastic materials such as flexible packaging and films, among others, can be diverted from landfills and used as a feedstock to create new consumer products.

Demand for products made from plastic materials is strong and growing. But traditional mechanical recycling technologies do not necessarily have the capability to process and recycle a number of discarded plastic products.

According to Closed Loop Partners, an investment firm focused on building the circular economy, without a bold shift in materials collection and manufacturing approaches, mismanagement of discarded plastic materials could result in missed opportunities to recover and harvest the value of these resources.

To address this issue, Eastman, a global specialty materials company that manufactures chemicals, fibers and plastics materials used to make everyday products, is launching two innovative chemical recycling technologies that can process waste plastics that cannot be recycled using current mechanical methods, and as a result, often end up in landfills and waterways.

Eastman Graphic 1 Carbon Renewal Process - 407x229The first to produce at commercial scale, carbon renewal technology, is capable of recycling some of the most complex plastic materials, including non-polyester plastics and mixed plastics that cannot typically be recycled with conventional recycling technologies.

Eastman’s carbon renewal technology can process nearly all waste plastic and provide high-quality recycled content that is indistinguishable from virgin plastics. This can enable manufacturers and brands to respond to consumer demand without compromising the quality of their products.

The second technology, advanced circular recycling, can enable low-quality polyester waste typically diverted to landfills to instead be recycled into high-quality polyesters suitable for use in a variety of end markets, including food contact applications.

Eastment Graphic 2 Advanced Circular Recycling - 407x229Using a process called methanolysis, Eastman’s advanced circular recycling technology breaks down polyester-based products into their polymer building blocks. These building blocks can then be reintroduced to the production of new polyester-based polymers, delivering a true circular solution.

Eastman is one of the pioneers in developing methanolysis technology at commercial scale and has more than three decades of experience in this recycling process. Eastman is partnering with the value chain, other industry sectors and communities to scale up these technologies, which can complement current mechanical recycling technologies and enable brand owners and others in the value chain to achieve their ambitious goals for waste reduction and commitments on recycled content.

SABIC is Producing Certified Circular Polymers from Plastic Waste for a Range of Consumer Goods & Food Packaging Applications

Sustainability Challenge:

Plastic waste, when not disposed of correctly, can end up in the environment, on land and in the oceans.

Chemistry Solution:

SABIC is pioneering to scale up a process that takes feedstock made from low value, mixed plastic waste that would otherwise end up in landfill or incineration, to produce original, high-quality polymers.

Sustainability Benefit:

Use of this process can enable wide-scale recovery of plastics, reducing waste sent to landfill, reducing dependency on traditional fossil-based feedstock, and creating a circular economy for plastics.

Plastics are instrumental in developing a range of innovative, beneficial packaging materials. However, while conventional recycling technologies are able to process some rigid or flexible plastics packaging materials for manufacture into new products, other plastics waste streams are more difficult to recycle.

To address the need to recover and divert more plastics materials from the waste stream, SABIC is developing a project that uses upgraded pyrolysis oil, a feedstock produced from low-quality, contaminated mixed plastic waste streams, in their crackers to produce virgin quality polymers.

In this initial market foundation stage, SABIC is supplying the finished polymers to customers that are developing new, home care products or high-quality consumer packaging for food, beverage and personal care.

SABIC’s Certified Circular Polymers are certified by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification plus (ISCC+), a global certification system that aims to build a more sustainable global supply chain.

According to ISCC+, SABIC’s Certified Circular Polymers have similar properties to packaging materials currently used in food packaging and other applications where purity and safety issues are a priority. Further, enabling mixed waste plastics to be directed back to the value chain can also help drive a circular economy and reduce the risk that plastics end up littering the environment.

SABIC is the first petrochemical company to implement an investment project for the chemical recycling of challenging mixed plastic waste back to the original polymer and achieved its “market foundation” milestone, with the initial production of polyethylene and polypropylene pellets at its facility in Geleen, Netherlands, in 2019. With full commercial scale production of polyethylene and polypropylene expected by 2021, SABIC anticipates that the Certified Circular Polymers will help create a new value chain, whereby SABIC, its upstream suppliers and key downstream customers can work together to upcycle mixed plastic waste back to the original polymer for a range of applications.

Braskem Launches Closed Loop Value Chain for Plastics with Philadelphia Eagles

Sustainability Challenge:

Although many plastic products are recyclable, 26 million tons of plastic was landfilled in 2015.

Chemistry Solution:

Braskem’s collaboration with the Philadelphia Eagles is helping educate a wider audience on the importance of recycling and repurposing single-use plastics.

Sustainability Benefit:

Increasing plastics recovery and recycling can reduce waste, conserve resources, save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

While many plastics containers and other materials can be recycled, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 26 million tons of plastic ended up in landfills in 2015.

BE-StatueIn 2018, Braskem America launched a nine-year sustainability initiative with the Philadelphia Eagles to implement a closed-loop value chain for polypropylene (PP) material. The circular recycling program is paired with the creation of an educational platform for 30 local Philadelphia-area schools to teach students about STEM career opportunities.

The closed-loop recycling program kicked off its first season by focusing on the collection and reuse of PP bottle caps from the beverages sold at the Eagles’ stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, throughout the team’s season, as well as other stadium events and at the Eagles’ practice facility, NovaCare Complex. Repurposing this material contributed to the production of a 3D printed 8-foot-tall replica of the Vince Lombardi Trophy made from recycled plastics. On display at the stadium, the replica trophy is central to ongoing fan engagement and education.

The program collected more than 300,000 caps in year one, or more than 2,000 pounds of recycled PP. Braskem will scale up this program to include additional plastics coming from stadium operations in year two and onward, and the company will introduce a new closed loop application each year to use the plastics collected through the stadium recycling program.

Through this collaboration, Braskem is educating a large and diverse group of consumers on the importance of recycling and the circular economy by exposing around 70,000 Eagles fans at each game to tangible examples of these synergies. Likewise, engaged students can become ambassadors to friends and family and share information on recycling and the circular economy.

Braskem’s program breaks ground for other companies looking to initiate similar approaches. More than 20 sports teams have expressed interest, as have brand owners, retailers and plastics compounders and converters. Braskem is currently exploring new program ideas with another professional sports team.

By expanding public knowledge on circular economy, Braskem’s goal is that 100 percent of plastic packaging be reused, recycled or recovered by 2040.

Kraton Asphalt Performance Additive Driving Development of Sustainable Roadways

Sustainability Challenge:

Changes in construction materials economics, environmental regulations, and an emphasis on sustainable pavements means highway engineers are seeking solutions that enhance use of recovered materials in pavements and asphalt surfaces while enabling high-quality roads and infrastructure.

Chemistry Solution:

Kraton asphalt performance additives enable development of durable, cost-effective roads using high percentages of reclaimed asphalt, enabling resource efficiency and shorter construction time.

Sustainability Benefit:

Kraton developed an asphalt performance additive that can help build sustainable highways by enabling use of reclaimed asphalt pavement in road rehabilitation projects.

Around the world, investment in transportation infrastructure continues to grow, enhancing the need for sustainable, environmentally sound construction processes and materials.

SYLVAROAD RP1000 Performance Additive, produced by Kraton, a global copolymer producer, helps make asphalt recycling more sustainable by enabling high-performance reuse of recycled asphalt pavement. The additive also improves resource efficiency by reducing the need for virgin aggregates and liquid asphalt, while reducing the overall environmental impact of road construction

Ocean and Road By helping to enable a significant increase in the amount of reclaimed materials that can be used in an asphalt mix, use of the high-performance additive can lead to more sustainable and resource-efficient road construction. The engineered use of this high-performance additive can also help reduce pavement thickness, saving raw materials and construction time.

Derived from crude tall oil (CTO), a bio-based raw material that is a byproduct of the paper manufacturing industry, SYLVAROAD RP1000 High Performance Additive makes effective use of existing resources to help make asphalt road construction more economical, durable and sustainable.

With less than a kilogram per ton of asphalt mix, typically containing up to 50 percent reclaimed asphalt pavement, the SYLVAROAD RP1000 additive can restore aged material to its original properties and minimize cracking and rutting on the road. The CTO additive also enhances asphalt mix performance so that high recycled content can be used in surface-layer paving mixes, not just sub-surface layers.

Kraton’s bio-based products are derived from biomass, and many of its products are certified under the European Bio-based certification scheme; the SYLVAROAD™ RP1000 additive is certified 90 percent bio-based. After five years of stakeholder collaboration, various European road authorities began using SYLVAROAD™ RP1000 additive on commercial road projects. Benefits reported by road authorities include reduced stockpiles of reclaimed asphalt pavement and optimized use of recovered products.

Dow Working to Turn Discarded Plastics into Roads

Sustainability Challenge:

Plastics materials that aren’t recycled can pollute the environment.

Chemistry Solution:

Technologies made possible by chemistry can convert used plastics into road materials.

Sustainability Benefit:

In India, The Dow Chemical Company worked with government officials and waste collectors to collect and process enough discarded plastic material to pave 40 kilometers of roads—diverting 100 metric tons of waste from landfills in the process.

With the goal of reducing marine debris and recovering the value of discarded materials, The Dow Chemical Company is collaborating with governments and other stakeholders in Asia Pacific to turn discarded plastics into durable, long-lasting roads.

  • In India, Dow worked with government officials and waste collectors in the cities of Bangalore and Pune to collect enough discarded plastics to pave 40 kilometers of roads – diverting 100 metric tons of waste from landfills in the process. Volunteers collected and delivered plastics to local recyclers for processing. The material was then sent to local asphalt plants, where it replaced bitumen in the asphalt mixture.
  • As one of the top countries facing the marine debris challenge, the Indonesian government set a goal to reduce plastics waste in the ocean by 70 percent by 2025. To work toward this goal, Dow partnered with government and other stakeholders to develop the country’s plastic road building project.

Plastic CollectionDow worked with local groups to complete the first plastic road trial in Depok city, West Java, in 2017. The road was made by mixing 3.5 metric tons of discarded plastics into asphalt to create a 1.8 kilometer-long-road, covering a total area of 9,781 square meters.

Roads made using discarded plastics can last longer than current asphalt roads built in these countries. They also save petroleum used to make asphalt, have lower greenhouse gas emissions, help reduce litter and provide a new life for discarded plastics.

Hexion Resin Technologies Expand Use of Wood Resources

Sustainability Challenge:

Wood is a popular renewable building material; however, less than 65 percent of a tree can be used for solid lumber.

Chemistry Solution:

Hexion EcoBindTM resin technology helps manufacturers recover more usable wood from trees, resulting in a variety of engineered wood products for use in building materials.

Sustainability Benefit:

Engineered wood can enable more than 95 percent of every tree to be used, saving natural resources and expanding use of renewable wood resources.

Wood has long been a material of choice for building and construction, due to its strength, multi-functional uses and sustainability attributes. Wood products are naturally biodegradable, renewable, energy efficient and help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In addition, sustainable forestry helps enable new growth that adds more than two times the amount of wood removed from U.S. forests for building and construction every year.

Specialty chemical manufacturer Hexion developed EcoBindTM ultra-low-emission resins for binding wood products. With its ability to provide high tensile strength, durability and heat and water-resistance, these resins can help create engineered wood products that use more of the wood from trees for products that are stronger and more durable than wood alone.

These resins can help transform wood veneer, fibers and strands of lumber into engineered wood like plywood, oriented strand board, flooring and I-joists used in construction, as well as in a wide variety of products like thermally fused laminate, laminated countertops, floors, cabinets, molding, doors and furniture.

Engineered wood panels can be made from recovered wood waste that might otherwise be burned or disposed of in a landfill. So EcoBindTM resin technology can help trees that enter a mill to be used to their maximum potential. For example, while typically only 63 percent of a tree is used to manufacture solid lumber, creation of engineered wood panels using EcoBindTM can put 95 percent of a tree to use.

Hexion’s resin technology advances have enabled engineered wood panel manufacturers to reduce their composite panel emissions – for products such as particleboard, medium density fiberboard and hardwood plywood – by 80 to 90 percent since the early 1980s. These stewardship efforts have resulted in products that meet performance requirements set by the marketplace and regulatory bodies to minimize emissions – some emissions are at or very near the level of wood itself.

Hexion’s EcoBindTM resin technology meets or exceeds numerous global emission standards, including those set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board and European and Japanese standards, as well as specifications recommended by the U.S. Green Building Council.


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