We need to do things differently to move towards a circular plastics economy. Dow shows how partnership and collaboration can help to drive and embed new technologies.
The plastics industry faces a pressing challenge in the quest for a sustainable future. How do you recycle successfully when traditional recycling has limitations?
Dow recognized that the linear model of single-use plastic is not sustainable and has been working to transform plastic into a valuable resource that can be used repeatedly. To help achieve this, the company forged a strategic partnership with Mura Technology, pooling expertise to scale up advanced recycling technologies.
Traditional mechanical recycling cannot accommodate certain plastic items, such as thin films used for food and pharmaceutical protection. However, Mura’s revolutionary HydroPRS™ (Hydrothermal Plastic Recycling Solution) advanced recycling process can recycle all forms of plastic, including flexible and multi-layer plastics, previously deemed ‘unrecyclable’.
HydroPRS™ uses supercritical water – a state where the water becomes a highly-compressed fluid that combines the properties of gases and liquids – to convert post-consumer plastics into high-yield petrochemical feedstocks. In addition, energy recovered in the process is used to drive product separation, while recovered process gas is used to generate supercritical steam, reducing the reliance on fossil fuels.
The continuation and growth of Dow and Mura’s collaboration is another example of how Dow is working strategically to expand and build momentum around securing circular feedstocks and supporting breakthrough advanced recycling technologies.Isam Shomaly – Dow business vice president for Feedstocks and Commodities
Once deployed at scale, it has the capability to prevent millions of tons of plastic and carbon dioxide from entering the environment every year and create the ingredients for a sustainable, circular plastics economy with recycled feedstock. A peer-reviewed lifecycle analysis study by Warwick Manufacturing Group (at the University of Warwick) reports a significant reduction in carbon emissions when the HydroPRS™ process is implemented.
With a new facility planned to be operational in 2025 in Germany that will deliver around 120 kilotons of advanced recycling capacity when running, it’s clear that the technology is both scalable and sustainable.