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Comment Sustainability

Eni, Versalis and Corepla to collaborate on plastics recycling projects

By Mary Page Bailey |

Eni S.p.A. (Rome, Italy), Versalis S.p.A. (San Donato Milaese, Italy) and COREPLA (the National Consortium for the Collection, Recycling and Recovery of Plastic Packaging) have signed an agreement that will see them pool their expertise to collect and recycle plastic packaging, with a particular focus on non-mechanically recyclable mixed plastics (plasmix).

Eni also recently announced a partnership with Maire Tecnimont focused on green chemistry and waste utilization.

The partnership aims to provide a practical and sustainable solution to the recovery of plastic packaging waste on a national scale. Over half of the plastic packaging collected from sorted bins in Italy is currently sent for mechanical recycling to make new products. The remaining portion of mixed post-consumer plastics that are not suitable for mechanical recycling, known as plasmix, now mainly ends up in cement plants, where it replaces fossil fuels, whilst some is used for energy recovery and the remainder sent to landfill. The agreement aims to launch a study plan that will exploit all the plasmix fractions available in the COREPLA chain. The partners will pool their respective expertise in the fields of gasification and chemical recycling by means of pyrolysis. Versalis is, in fact, in the process of designing a first chemical recycling plant using the pyrolysis technology and set to be built in Mantua, in addition to the various mechanical recycling initiatives that the company is spearheading.  

A second agreement signed today by Eni and COREPLA aims to establish the feasibility of recovering end-of-life plastics at the innovative plants that Eni is looking into for the Venice bio-refinery, in Porto Marghera, and at the Livorno refinery, for the production of hydrogen and methanol obtained through gasification respectively. Gasification is a technological process for producing syngas that involves a thermal reaction at a controlled high temperature in an enclosed environment, meaning that there are no direct emissions out of chimneys. This takes place under temperature conditions that vitrify the pollutants and render them inert and stable.

COREPLA will make a vital contribution to determining the availability and composition of the plasmix managed through its chain at a national level, in conjunction with various companies specializing in the recovery sector, with a view to making it compatible with the various requirements of the technologies involved.

The agreement also provides for the extension of the RiVending project launched at Eni’s offices in San Donato Milanese for the recycling of polystyrene stirrers and coffee cups from vending machines, which will now be extended to other Eni and Versalis offices and industrial sites.

The agreement is part of a long-term strategy that will see Eni establish itself as a leader in the production and marketing of decarbonized products. The company is, in fact, adopting a strategic plan, the likes of which have never before been seen in the industry, that will allow it to cut 80% of absolute carbon emissions by 2050. Eni will produce more and more green energy by developing renewables, produce gas, LNG and hydrogen from gas and bio-based raw materials, stripped of CO2 by means of various sequestration and storage projects, and produce biofuels at its bio-refineries, as well as biofuels, methanol and hydrogen from waste and chemical products from renewables and secondary raw materials. 

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