Technological watch

Borealis pledges to quadruple amount of recycled content on offer by 2030

Resin supplier Borealis has made a commitment to the market to quadruple the quantity of recycled content contained in its resins by 2030 but this could, in fact, happen as early as 2025. Speaking at a pre-K Show event in Linz, Austria in June, Maurits van Tol, Senior Vice President, Innovation, Technology & Circular Economy Solutions reiterated the company’s strategy of retaining the performance of its polyolefins via its all-encompassing Borcycle mechanical recycle technology for as many cycles as possible before reverting to solvent or chemical recycling route to complete the circle. “Mechanical recycling retains a lot of the intrinsic energy of the molecule, and while you might have to add some virgin material to crank up performance, keeping the resin in the mechanical space for as long as long as possible makes the most sense from a lifecycle or planet point of view,” he notes.

Borealis’ van Tol: “Mechanical recycling retains a lot of the intrinsic energy of the molecule.”Borealis’ Ciliberti: “Post-consumer products were [previously] lacking in performance and we needed to do more.”

The company intends to debut several new products with recycled content at the K Show this October, among them, recycled polyolefins (rPO) such as Borcycle MF1981SY, an rPO with over 80% recycled content intended for use in visible appliance parts. The first commercial application is a vacuum cleaner undercarriage featuring a highly ribbed design that satisfies demanding impact requirements. Commenting on the latest development, Maria Ciliberti, Vice President, Polyolefins Marketing and New Business Development at Borealis said: “Post-consumer products were [previously] lacking in performance and we needed to do more. So here is where our compounding expertise came in.”

As a scalable and modular technology, Borcycle has been developed to meet growing market demand for high-quality recyclate. Leading appliance brand owners, for one, have pledged to increase the amount of recycled plastics in their goods. Yet until recently, producers have not been able to rely on a consistent supply of high-quality recyclate. The Borcycle technology will help address this challenge. Compounds made using the Borcycle technology are said to deliver high performance, add value and offer versatility. Producers and brand owners in a range of industries will profit from the availability of high-quality recyclate that helps them meet environmental and regulatory challenges.

Borcycle MF1981SY is the first of several upcoming launches of rPO solutions made under the umbrella of the Borcycle technology. The grade will be available to Borealis customers in Europe. Because it is a 10% talc-filled compound that contains over 80% recycled material, it is said to offer an ideal balance between stiffness and impact. The compound is especially suited for use in visible black parts, for example in small appliances.

Borealis will also detail a series of significant material improvements to existing recyclates in the established Purpolen brand portfolio. Purpolen PP Y40, for example, is a recycled PP with higher and improved flowability—the melt flow index has been improved to 40g/10min for the injection molding of thin-walled parts, and long flow paths. Target applications include pails, thin-wall packaging, and appliance parts.

A second addition is Purpolen PE FF, which is a fine-filtered (FF) polyethylene (PE) regranulate boasting improved gel level via extrusion setup. The quality is now more comparable to competing conventional grades; is suitable for general purpose applications.

Finally, Purpolen PE Y01 is a 100%-PCR grade with low melt flow rate (MFR) for extrusion processes for pipes or larger bottles. – In extrusion processes, lower MFR and lower gel content are prerequisites for the production of bottles and pipes, offering improved aesthetics, better surface finish, and processing stability.

“Mechanical recycling is presently a most eco-efficient method to implement the principles of the circular economy,” explains Guenter Stephan, Head of Mechanical Recycling, Borealis Circular Economy Solutions. “Borealis and [subsidiary] mtm plastics are leveraging their respective areas of expertise to make significant progress in achieving polyolefin circularity by upscaling recycling output and ensuring the reliable supply of high-quality plastics recyclate for European producers, in particular.”

Publication date: 09/07/2019

Plastics Today

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Last update: 2020-07-14