Earlier this year, Berry announced its sustainability strategy Impact 2025, and has pledged to design 100% of its packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025. As part of this commitment and in support of circular economy, Berry is always advancing to utilize new and innovative methods to create more environmentally sustainable packaging. Included in the company’s efforts is the collaboration with trusted suppliers to aid in the advancement of the packaging industry as a whole.
SABIC announced at the end of 2018 its intended project to build a semi-commercial unit in the Netherlands to refine and upgrade valuable feedstocks produced from the recycling of low-quality, mixed plastic waste.
During 2019, SABIC has already produced initial volumes of these certified circular polymers using its existing manufacturing facilities. From this initial volume, Berry has manufactured a recyclable, coextruded stand-up pouch containing 30% PCR sourced from SABIC’s circular polymer. Berry has committed to continue to utilize a portion of these materials, which have the potential to be used in polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene (PE) applications in the company’s European consumer packaging facilities.
“As a leader in sustainable packaging, we place a high value on innovation surrounding the methods by which we recover valuable plastic materials,” says Tom Salmon, chairman and CEO at Berry. “SABIC’s timeline for beginning semi-commercial production is one of the fastest we have seen in the industry and we were eager to join with them in initiatives that support circular economy.”
Known benefits of chemical recycling include the ability to recycle mixed plastic waste that would have otherwise been destined for landfill or incineration. Unlike mechanical recycling, the process of chemical recycling removes all contaminants, including inks and colorants, returning post-consumer plastic to a quality indistinguishable from virgin material, suitable for direct food contact.
“SABIC is proud to be the first petrochemical company to implement a project for the chemical recycling of challenging plastic waste into feedstock for steam crackers. This exciting project is testament to our commitment to scale up advanced chemical recycling processes of plastics back to the original polymer,” says Bob Maughon, executive vice president, Sustainability, Technology & Innovation at SABIC. “This project is just one example of Trucircle, SABIC’s new launched initiative to encompass circular materials and technologies to enable our consumers and product manufacturers to deliver greater sustainability.”
The collaboration between Berry and SABIC reflects both companies’ commitment to driving a circular economy for plastics. Berry has been a vocal advocate in support of recycling, regardless of means, and is making a bold stance to encourage the use and development of chemical recycling.
“We believe chemical recycling is complementary to mechanical recycling. We are excited about the potential of chemical recycling to recover harder to recycle materials and keep them in the circular economy,” says Robert Flores, vice president of Sustainability at Berry.
Salmon adds: “As consumer demand for sustainable packaging continues to increase, we continue to advance the innovative ways by which we supply these markets. We anticipate chemical recycling will play a critical role in the reuse of valuable materials, keeping more plastics in the value chain and out of the waste stream."