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  • Writer's pictureChristopher McArdle

To share is to solve

Circularity is a shared goal, but if we’re going to get there we’ll need to collaborate like never before.


When it comes to solving circularity, the clue’s in the name; the Circular Economy is about changing the way we make, use and - critically - reuse materials and resources, which means whole system redesign and reinvention. When it comes to tackling huge climate change issues through reduction in CO2 emissions and through more renewable energy and materials, reaching Net Zero - as many businesses have committed to doing in the coming decades - means addressing Scope 3 emissions, which are those an organisation indirectly impacts through its value chain. Once again, it means we’re all in it together and that success needs to be co-created and shared.


To reach a circular economy in plastic, there are some complex issues to solve, but this is the moment for accelerating action. It’s a time for wide and progress-driven collaboration across the value chain, to share, to learn and to create new solutions together. These can be test and learn experiments, co-creation or development of new innovative technologies, even communication that helps bring people into shared understanding and ways of working.

Here we highlight three different levels and forms of collaboration that Borealis are undertaking, working with specialists and other parts of the value chain in ways that unlock circular progress:

1. Increasing supply of chemically recycled feedstock

Working with partner Stena Recycling, Borealis have begun a feasibility study for a chemical recycling plant at its production location in Stenungsund, Sweden. Should the study be successful, operations would begin in 2024 that would see larger-scale replacement of fossil-fuel based feedstocks with chemically recycled feedstock, integrated via a mass balance model. This would be an important step of progress in helping to close the loop on plastic waste. Borealis will also work with Fortum Recycling and Waste on a project to source plastic waste for the chemical recycling unit.


2. Taking mechanical recycling to the next level

In a new partnership with TOMRA, a sensor technology business, Borealis has begun operations at a demo plant for advanced mechanical recycling, in Lahnstein, Germany. The plant sorts post-consumer plastic waste to produce solutions that are fit for demanding plastic applications across multiple sectors like healthcare and automotive. This will help unlock progress for converters and brands, to meet their own demands of more sustainable materials of the highest quality.




3. Revolutionising sorting and recycling with digital tools

Ultimately, in order for plastic circularity to be possible, consumers will need to adapt behaviours, not only by selecting more circular product options but in recycling them consistency and correctly, to aid sorting and recycling to happen at scale. To help with that, a huge collaborative effort - Project Holy Grail 2.0 - has been taking place across the value chain to develop digital watermark technology, which acts as an invisible but scannable indicator for consumers about the type of plastic in their product, to help them sort and recycle accordingly. This is a big step forward, with still some way to go, but proof that co-ordinating efforts across the value chain can make a big impact in what’s possible and how fast we can reach a more circular future, for the benefit of all.



To stay up to date on how we are accelerating action on circularity, follow us on LinkedIn.

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