Petro-chemical giant seeks e-plastics
By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling
As the world's second largest petro-chemical company and a leading producer of engineered polymers such as ABS, PC and PC blends, SABIC is moving heavily into post-consumer plastics recycling.
According to Kim Holmes (Editor's note: Kim Holmes previously edited E-Scrap News), a key recycling manager for the firm, the company is responding to customer demands and increasing governmental regulations. The recycling initiative is intimately tied to other sustainability efforts at the firm, including those focusing on energy efficiency and the use of advanced flame retardants.
Holmes admits that SABIC's inaugural efforts in post-consumer plastics recovery targeted clean, readily available scrap, such as PC water jugs. "However, because of high demand, this scrap has a high cost." As a result, the company is expanding its approach.
"The challenge is how do we capture plastics from more complex streams, such as from electronics," Holmes told the audience attending a session at the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries convention last week. She noted that plastic from electronics has major barriers. The yield loss is high when processing the material, as this scrap often contains brominated fire retardants and the inclusion of black plastics creates problems.
Nonetheless, SABIC wants to engage the materials recovery industry. It is working with numerous scrap plastics processors as well as trade associations, eco-label organizations, regulators and others. SABIC plans to link up with plastics processors that do sortation and careful material separation, as well as perform value-added actions.