Sector News

Borealis equips Belgium site with demonstration compounding line for recyclate-based polyolefins

June 8, 2024
Energy & Chemical Value Chain

Borealis has installed a semi-commercial demonstration compounding line for recyclate-based polyolefins (rPO) at its site in Beringen, Belgium. It is set for construction this year and is expected to be fully operational in the first half of 2025.

The “state-of-the-art” line will use Borealis’ proprietary Borcycle M technology to transform mechanically recycled post-consumer waste into high-quality rigid PP and PE materials.

Capable of processing a broad range of recyclate flakes from PP and HDPE waste sources, the new line will offer “exceptional versatility and flexibility.” It will provide operational and technological insight, supporting Borealis to scale up its mechanical recycling capacity further.

“We do not disclose the production capacity figures. As a demonstration line, it will showcase the power of Borcycle M technology to produce mechanically recycled solutions that meet the rigorous and varied demands of high-performance applications in industries including mobility, consumer products, appliances and energy,” Mirjam Mayer, vice president of Circular Economy Solutions at Borealis, tells Packaging Insights.

Driving mechanical recycling solutions
The demonstration line caters to various applications. Within the consumer and packaging industry, its recycled materials can be used directly or combined with virgin materials to create compounds for applications like cosmetic bottles and containers.

In the appliances industry, the recyclates can be applied to create everyday household applications, such as coffee machines or parts for vacuum cleaners.

Meanwhile, for the automotive industry, recycled compounds can be built up with a mixture of other components such as virgin materials and fillers. For the wire and cable sector, compounds containing the recycled materials can be used for outer cable jackets.

“In both automotive and appliances there is a very strong drive towards greater circularity and reducing CO2 emissions,” Mayer tells us.

“In automotive in particular, this development proactively addresses the requirements of the forthcoming European End-of-Life Vehicles (EoL) regulation. EoL stipulates that 25% of the plastic used in new vehicles must come from recycled sources, with a clear focus on mechanical and post-consumer recycling.”

“Recycled-based compounds (based on post-consumer waste) will play a critical role in achieving these circularity goals,” they stress.

Building on recent acquisitions
The move complements Borealis’ recent acquisitions of Italy’s recyclate-based compounding business Rialti and Bulgaria’s advanced mechanical recycler Integra.

“At Borealis, we are dedicated to supporting our customers to meet their sustainability goals while maintaining exceptionally high quality standards,” says Mirjam Mayer, Borealis’ vice president of Circular Economy Solutions.

“This represents another step in Borealis’ EverMinds ambition to deepen our expertise in giving plastic waste a new life in high-value applications.”

Last April, Borealis secured a Letters of No Objection from the US FDA, affirming the safe use of specific grades of its Borcycle M PCR plastics. This is paving the way for Borcycle M-derived materials to be used in a specific range of “demanding and sensitive applications,” including cosmetics and personal care.

By Benjamin Ferrer


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