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Comment Sustainability

Chevron Phillips Chemical completes first commercial-scale production of circular polyethylene from recycled mixed-waste plastics

By Mary Page Bailey |

Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. (CPChem; The Woodlands, Tex.) announced success in its first commercial-scale production of polyethylene using advanced recycling technology.
  
Advanced recycling, sometimes referred to as “chemical recycling,” converts plastic waste to valuable liquids that can become new petrochemicals. This approach complements traditional recycling by converting a range of materials, including many difficult-to-recycle plastics, into important building blocks for new chemicals. Because of the potential to repeatedly recycle post-use plastics into new materials, polymers produced through advanced recycling are often referred to as “circular polymers.” Chevron Phillips Chemical’s circular polyethylene matches the performance and safety specifications of the virgin polymers Chevron Phillips Chemical is known for globally. 

“We are exceptionally proud to be the first company to announce production of a circular polyethylene on this scale in the U.S.,” said Jim Becker, vice president of polymers and sustainability. “The successful production run marks a huge step for CPChem on our path to being a world leader in producing circular polymers. This development is an important milestone for us as we further our commitment to proactively help the world find sustainable solutions, including the elimination of plastic waste in the environment.”

Commercial scale production is a significant achievement, and the result of the company’s two-year exploration into the technical viability of creating circular polymers from waste plastics. Chevron Phillips Chemical is now working on scaling up its production of circular polyethylene to meet its ambitious production plans. That includes working with several proven suppliers of pyrolysis oil, the feedstock made from waste plastics, and pursuing certification for the new polyethylene through the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification Plus (ISCC Plus) approach using their internationally recognized mass balance certification methodology.

Chevron Phillips Chemical’s sustainability technical manager, Ron Abbott, said, “All recycling methods have a role to play in reducing plastic waste and achieving the societal sustainability goals we all want. This advanced recycling technology allows us to recover hydrocarbons from plastic waste that have previously been difficult, or even impossible to recycle, enabling us to upgrade them into clean, safe circular plastics. We are excited to be at the forefront of this technology as we seek to implement sustainable solutions that cultivate a circular economy.”

Upon certification, Chevron Phillips Chemical intends to market its new circular polyethylene range under the trade name Marlex Anew Circular Polyethylene.

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