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New waste plastics contract opens for first circular economy loop within chemical recycling

New cooperation paves the way for the first-ever circular economy loop based on the chemical recycling of waste plastics. Norway-headed Geminor AS, one of northern Europe’s largest suppliers of waste-derived fuels is now committing to deliver 20 000 tonnes of waste plastics to Quantafuel’s plant in Denmark that will produce chemically recycled feedstock for new plastic production at a BASF facility in Germany.

Geminor AS has entered a cooperation agreement with Quantafuel AS to secure deliveries of plastic waste to Quantafuel’s plants for conversion into fuels (photo courtesy Geminor).

An important milestone within the plastic circular economy has been achieved as expert companies involved in the supply and recycling of waste plastics, as well as the production of plastic products, have come together to create the first-ever chemical circular economy for waste plastics.

In the first quarter of 2020, Norway-headed plastics-to-fuel technology developers Quantafuel AS will open Quantafuel Skive, a plant in Skive, Denmark that will transform waste plastic into chemical feedstock for new plastic and a range of other chemicals.

Germany-headed global chemicals major BASF SE (BASF) is investing EUR 20 million in Quantafuel. According to the agreement, Quantafuel will deliver chemically recycled feedstock from Skive to BASF’s production site in Ludwigshafen, Germany, where the production of the first commercial volumes of plastic products based on this feedstock will take place.

Geminor to deliver plastic waste

In March 2019, Quantafuel and Geminor signed a cooperation agreement on the supply of waste plastic feedstock for the plant. Geminor has now signed a supply contract with Quantafuel committing to supply 20 000 tonnes of selected, mixed, and treated waste plastic annually to the plant in Skive, thereby closing the loop in the upcoming waste plastic circular economy.

Our goal is to establish a circular economy involving chemical recycling, and in order to achieve this we need a steady supply of plastic waste that suits our process and is unfit for mechanical recycling. As our main supplier in the years to come, Geminor will increase and secure our access to valuable plastic waste material from all over Scandinavia and Europe. With both BASF and Geminor on our team, the loop is complete. Together we will be able to collect plastic waste and deliver clean and sustainable products that replace products made from fossil resources. Chemical recycling is a much-needed supplement to mechanical recycling, and we hope that chemically recycled plastics will become a recognized standard in European plastic production, said Kjetil Bøhn, CEO of Quantafuel.

By allowing a much larger share of plastic waste to be recycled into new products, chemical recycling is predicted to significantly increase the recycling rate in Europe and reduce the carbon footprint worldwide.

We have for some time been part of establishing a circular economy within waste wood, leading to the production of new and sustainable furniture. This already has made an impact on our carbon footprint all over Europe. Considering the enormous and still increasing amounts of waste plastic we find in Europe today, creating a circular economy involving chemical recycling has the potential of making plastic an equally sustainable product. Managing the supply of waste plastic for the production of new recycled plastic will be of high priority for us in the time to come. We now encourage the industry players to assist us in the effort to establish a circular economy within chemically recycled plastics in Denmark and Europe, said Kjetil Vikingstad, CEO of Geminor.

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