Closed-loop rPE – Revolutionizing Recycling: Transforming Old Plastics into New with Innovative Process 02-09-2023

Closed-loop rPE

Berry Global has taken a significant step towards sustainability by launching a closed-loop system for its 20-liter Optimum stacking containers, which are made from recycled polyethylene (rPE)

This innovative initiative, in collaboration with French water treatment specialist Ocedis, aims to establish a circular supply chain for these large containers.

The process begins at Berry’s Moirans factory in France, where the rPE containers are manufactured. These containers are then transported to the Ocedis plant in Trévoux, where they are filled with Ocedis’ pH Minus Liquide, used for commercial and local swimming pools. What sets this system apart is its commitment to circularity. After the containers have served their purpose, they are collected as part of the closed-loop system. These empty containers are then returned to Ocedis.

Here’s where the magic of recycling comes into play. The collected containers are transported to a confidential recycling partner, whose facilities wash, shred, grind, and convert them back into rPE pellets. These pellets are subsequently shipped back to Berry’s Moirans factory. Here, they are used in the production of new Optimum containers for Ocedis, completing the loop and minimizing waste. Closed-loop rPE

One of the key achievements of this closed-loop system is that Berry has ensured that the rPE containers maintain the same levels of performance, durability, and functionality as their counterparts made from virgin polymer. This commitment to quality is underlined by the UN certification the containers have received for the safe handling of hazardous goods.

Functionality and safety are not the only aspects that have been taken into consideration. The Optimum containers are designed with an interlocking top and base, enabling safe and efficient stacking to maximize pallet loads. This feature enhances their practicality and versatility for both Berry and Ocedis.

Romain Hardy, the general manager at Ocedis, emphasized the collaborative nature of this project, highlighting how effective circular solutions can be developed when all parts of the supply chain work together. This collaboration has undoubtedly been instrumental in the success of this closed-loop system. Closed-loop rPE

Looking ahead, Berry Global’s Moirans general manager, Rudolph Pfeiffer, expressed the company’s intent to seek similar partnerships with other customers in the near future. This ambitious vision suggests that Berry is committed to expanding its closed-loop systems to further promote sustainability in its operations.

This announcement comes in the context of Berry Global’s recent decision to close 20 of its facilities. While streamlining operations, the company is simultaneously taking steps towards a more environmentally responsible future, setting an example for others in the industry. With their closed-loop system, Berry Global and Ocedis are demonstrating that sustainability and innovation can go hand in hand, ultimately benefiting both the environment and their customers. Closed-loop rPE

Closed-loop rPE

The BRICS economic bloc, an influential coalition advocating for enhanced representation of the developing world and the Global South in global affairs, recently concluded a significant three-day summit in South Africa

During this summit, the member countries engaged in discussions about a wide array of socio-economic matters pertinent to their group. The event also served as a platform to declare the forthcoming inclusion of six new countries into the alliance in the year 2024: Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Egypt, and Ethiopia. The overarching theme of the summit was “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development, and Inclusive Multilateralism.”

To provide context, the acronym BRICS originally emerged as BRIC in 2001, coined by Jim O’Neill, a Goldman Sachs economist, to denote Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Later in 2010, South Africa joined, transforming it into BRICS. The underlying rationale behind this acronym was Goldman Sachs’ assertion that these four economies, along with South Africa, would dominate the global economy by 2050. This projection was rooted in the rapid growth and emergence of China, India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa as leading economies, facilitated by their advantageous factors such as low labor costs, favorable demographics, and abundant natural resources, particularly during the global commodities boom. Closed-loop rPE

Contrary to the sentiments of some Nigerians lamenting Nigeria’s exclusion from BRICS, Vice President Kashim Shettima explained that Nigeria had not actively pursued BRICS membership. Shettima stated that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his superior, valued consensus-building, and therefore, the decision to join BRICS would necessitate careful evaluation of various variables, including engagement with the economic advisory council, the Federal Executive Council, and the National Assembly.

While Shettima’s position may be considered plausible, it is challenged by contradictory claims. South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor revealed in March that there was immense global interest in BRICS, with numerous countries expressing their desire to join, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Algeria, Argentina, Mexico, and Nigeria.

This discrepancy raises questions about the varying accounts from Nigerian officials and Naledi Pandor. It also fuels debates among Nigerians who believe that Nigeria’s absence from BRICS reflects the nation’s struggling economy and the current administration’s failure to adopt effective economic policies. Critics argue that Nigeria’s economic instability, characterized by recession under the previous administration and continued challenges with currency stabilization and GDP growth, has hampered its credibility for BRICS membership. Closed-loop rPE

However, supporters of Nigeria’s inclusion in BRICS emphasize the potential benefits of such an affiliation. They point to the cooperation among BRICS member countries, which promotes the interests of developing nations and emerging economies. Collaboration within BRICS has yielded agreements on economic and financial matters, including World Bank and IMF reforms. Initiatives such as the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism and the BRICS Exchanges Alliance have contributed to foreign expansion opportunities and solid returns for investors. Furthermore, BRICS nations have coordinated on regional issues, from conflict resolution to technological development.

Proponents of Nigeria’s BRICS membership highlight the alignment of BRICS principles with those of the United Nations Charter, fostering openness, pragmatism, neutrality, and non-bloc nature. Joining BRICS could provide Nigeria with a platform for economic growth, sociopolitical advancement, and technological innovation.

To address the disparity between Nigeria’s economic status and the potential benefits of BRICS membership, it is crucial for Nigerian leaders to prioritize industrialization and productive collaborations with private organizations possessing surplus capital. Bridging the wealth gap between industrialized nations and developing countries hinges on building domestic capabilities to produce modern technologies and competitive industrial goods.

This transformation demands a shift in perspective among Nigeria’s public office holders and citizens alike. Leaders must recognize that effective governance and sustained prosperity necessitate continuous efforts and accountability. Nigerians must actively engage in demanding accountability from their leaders, confronting challenges, and nurturing the nation’s progress. Closed-loop rPE

In essence, Nigeria stands at a crossroads. Its potential to contribute to a New World Order, through participation in alliances like BRICS, holds promise for economic advancement and global influence. However, realizing this potential requires decisive action, collaborative efforts, and a commitment to transformative change. By navigating these challenges adeptly, Nigeria can steer towards a future where peace, unity, and progress reign supreme.

Closed-loop rPE

TotalEnergies Corbion Unveils Advanced rPLA Grade at Interplas Exhibition

Anticipation is building for the upcoming Interplas event scheduled from September 26 to 28 in Birmingham, UK, where TotalEnergies Corbion is set to unveil a groundbreaking PLA grade infused with up to 30% recycled content, poised to captivate the UK market. The innovative rPLA series is ingeniously crafted not only to align with the UK’s recent regulations curtailing the use of single-use plastics but also to address the Plastics Packaging Tax introduced on April 1, 2022, which mandates that packaging in the UK must integrate at least 30% recycled plastic content to avoid taxation.

As the UK intensifies its commitment to environmental sustainability, TotalEnergies Corbion is making a resolute statement at Interplas, championing its rPLA range as an embodiment of ecological responsibility and innovation. While these materials impeccably adhere to the newly introduced legal framework, their contribution to sustainability far surpasses mere compliance. Closed-loop rPE

The concept of circularity takes center stage as TotalEnergies Corbion delves into the science behind the rPLA grades. Conventional mechanical recycling of PLA is a well-known approach, yet the company is pushing boundaries by embracing chemical recycling as well. Operating from its state-of-the-art facility in Thailand, TotalEnergies Corbion pioneers chemical recycling for PLA, ushering in a paradigm shift in waste management and resource regeneration.

Within this cutting-edge process, PLA waste, having undergone meticulous sorting and cleansing, undergoes depolymerization through a controlled hydrolysis procedure. The polymer chain undergoes hydrolysis under specific, mild conditions, disintegrating into its elemental monomer, lactic acid. This remarkable feat of selective transformation culminates in the creation of pristine lactic acid, ready to be reincarnated as new feedstock for rPLA production. The brilliance of this method lies in its ability to facilitate a closed loop: materials that once served their purpose can be resurrected to fulfill identical applications, even those involving food contact – an accomplishment that overcomes a significant limitation associated with mechanical recycling. Closed-loop rPE

TotalEnergies Corbion underscores the unique attributes of aliphatic polyesters like PLA, which permit direct conversion of polymer chains into lactic acid monomers. The inherent selectivity of this process, coupled with its minimal temperature requisites, contribute to its effectiveness in the pursuit of sustainability.

Luminy PLA, a product championed by TotalEnergies Corbion, emerges as a standout contender against traditional counterparts, particularly conventional PS products. Its functional performance mimics that of standard options while leaving an astoundingly low carbon footprint, approximately 75% less than that of conventional plastics. Frank Duijzer, the business development manager at TotalEnergies Corbion, emphasizes the forward-thinking nature of their solutions, which are poised to meet the rising tide of demand for reusable and recyclable alternatives, even extending to everyday items like cutlery. This duality of convenience and environmental consciousness underscores the company’s commitment to harmonizing human activities with ecological stewardship.

Duijzer emphasizes the scope of TotalEnergies Corbion’s contributions, noting that their materials transcend single-use cutlery, reshaping the landscape of food packaging itself with their compostable solutions. Aligning seamlessly with the UK’s regulations targeting plastics used for prepacked food, TotalEnergies Corbion’s biobased, compostable materials present an array of choices for sustainable packaging strategies, promoting a holistic approach to environmental protection. Closed-loop rPE

In a resounding testament to its dedication and innovation, TotalEnergies Corbion is set to grace Hall 4 Booth E24 at the Interplas exhibition in Birmingham from September 26 to 28, 2023. The event promises to be a pivotal juncture, offering a glimpse into the future of packaging solutions that seamlessly intertwine necessity, convenience, and a profound sense of environmental mindfulness. Closed-loop rPE

Closed-loop rPE

The 2023 Resource Recycling Conference held in Orlando, Florida, featured a session titled “Plastic Tensions Within Extended Producer Responsibility,” which brought together experts to discuss the complex relationship between extended producer responsibility (EPR) and plastics

The session showcased hope, progress, and respectful disagreements regarding film, chemical recycling, and labeling within the realm of plastic waste management.

The panelists included Kate Bailey from the Association of Plastic Recyclers, Anja Brandon from the Ocean Conservancy, Megan Daum from American Beverage, and Jennifer Ronk from Dow. The session was moderated by Dylan de Thomas from The Recycling Partnership. De Thomas set the stage by highlighting that EPR initiatives have various stakeholders with diverse goals beyond environmental outcomes, leading to tensions and discussions.

EPR, seen as a revolutionary solution to fund recycling consistently and coordinately across the country, was a central theme. Kate Bailey emphasized that EPR provides a unified approach to recycling funding, which had been lacking previously. Anja Brandon viewed EPR as a catalyst for addressing the ocean plastic pollution crisis and achieving improved environmental outcomes through systemic changes. Jennifer Ronk and Megan Daum noted the importance of fairness, flexibility, and solving the problem in supporting EPR, as it shifts funding responsibility from municipalities to producers. Closed-loop rPE

A significant discussion point was the incorporation of other goals alongside EPR measures in legislation. Panelists held differing opinions on whether it’s better to have inclusive bills or separate legislation for each issue. Some favored simpler bills to accelerate progress, while others like Anja Brandon argued that additional features like source reduction complement the recycling system and should not be seen as conflicting with EPR.

The question of labeling also emerged as a contentious issue. Kate Bailey and Jennifer Ronk suggested that better recycling labeling should coexist with the resin identification code (RIC). The idea of transitioning away from labeling through EPR-driven mandates for reusable, recyclable, or compostable items was discussed. However, the practical challenges of implementing labeling changes across states were acknowledged.

Chemical recycling was highlighted as an area of innovation but with cautious optimism. The panelists advocated for new recycling technologies that are proven at scale and transparent. Kate Bailey suggested that chemical recycling might be suitable for plastic durables, emphasizing the importance of not diverting resources from effective mechanical recycling. Closed-loop rPE

Throughout the discussion, collaboration emerged as a recurring theme. The panelists emphasized the need for stakeholders to work together and celebrate milestones. Kate Bailey expressed satisfaction that EPR, a concept she had been discussing since 2003, was finally becoming a reality. The speakers agreed that while tensions exist, the common ground outweighs the differences in advancing sustainable solutions for plastic waste management.

In conclusion, the Resource Recycling Conference’s session on “Plastic Tensions Within Extended Producer Responsibility” highlighted the dynamic relationship between EPR and plastics. The speakers acknowledged the complexities and disagreements surrounding various aspects, such as goals, labeling, and technological innovation. Nonetheless, the shared commitment to addressing plastic waste and achieving sustainable solutions was evident, with collaboration being deemed essential for progress. Closed-loop rPE


The 2023 Resource Recycling Conference held in Orlando, Florida, featured a session titled "Plastic Tensions Within Extended Producer Responsibility," which brought together experts to discuss the complex relationship between extended producer responsibility (EPR) and plastics

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak announced on Wednesday that Russia is contemplating the possibility of extending its oil export cuts into the month of October

This announcement comes as Russia claims to have fully complied with its obligations to reduce oil supply in August, according to reports from Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The genesis of these supply reductions can be traced back to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, with Russia playing a prominent role among them. Last year, these nations initiated production cuts to stabilize the oil market, and in June, they decided to extend these curbs through 2024. Specifically, Russia had pledged to reduce its oil exports by 500,000 barrels per day in August, accounting for approximately 5% of its total output, and by 300,000 barrels per day in September.

In his statement, Novak indicated that the extension of export cuts into October remains a possibility, though a final decision has not yet been reached. He emphasized that Russia’s actions will be guided by market dynamics and demand, stating, “We will see. We are now monitoring the situation and evaluating the market together with our colleagues from other countries. We will proceed from what the market will demand.” He also reaffirmed Russia’s commitment to fulfilling its obligations in August. Closed-loop rPE

Simultaneously, Saudi Arabia, a key player in the OPEC+ alliance, has chosen to continue its voluntary reduction of oil output by one million barrels per day for the upcoming month of September, hinting that this reduction could be extended further or intensified. Furthermore, Novak noted that Russia is actively reducing its exports from the average levels observed in May and June.

In a separate development, Novak revealed that Russian authorities are currently reviewing a proposal from Lukoil, a major Russian oil producer, regarding the repurchase of shares from foreign shareholders. Reports suggest that Lukoil has sought permission to buy back up to 25% of its shares from foreign investors at a discount of at least 50%. This move signals a potential shift in ownership dynamics within the Russian oil industry.

In conclusion, Russia’s contemplation of extending oil export cuts into October underscores its commitment to market stability in collaboration with OPEC+ allies. The decision, which remains pending, will be influenced by ongoing market evaluations and demand dynamics. Additionally, Lukoil’s proposal to repurchase shares from foreign investors reflects evolving strategies within Russia’s oil sector. Closed-loop rPE

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak announced on Wednesday that Russia is contemplating the possibility of extending its oil export cuts into the month of October

Revolutionizing Recycling: Transforming Old Plastics into New with Innovative Process

A groundbreaking recycling technique is poised to reshape the landscape of plastic sustainability. Researchers from Northwestern University have pioneered a method that employs environmentally friendly catalysts to disassemble and reconstruct polyurethane, ushering in a novel type of foam. This innovation holds significant promise for expanding the realm of renewable resources, particularly given the ubiquitous presence of polyurethane plastic in everyday items like mattresses and shoes. Notably, conventional recycling processes are ineffective for polyurethane, rendering this breakthrough all the more pivotal. Closed-loop rPE

Polyurethanes, a class of plastics characterized by their intricate crosslinked structures known as thermosets, have long eluded conventional recycling efforts due to their stubborn molecular bonds. However, the new technique capitalizes on recently identified non-toxic catalysts, orchestrating the recycling and repurposing of foam materials. This method, aptly termed “refoaming,” capitalizes on the interplay of zirconium-based catalysts and foaming agents to breathe new life into discarded polyurethane.

The refoaming process transpires through a meticulously choreographed series of steps. Initially, polyurethane is subjected to controlled heating in the presence of a zirconium catalyst. This catalyst instigates a transformative cascade by reconfiguring the molecular bonds of the material, rendering it malleable and amenable to reshaping. Simultaneously, the introduction of a foaming agent triggers the emergence of fresh gas bubbles, which become entrapped within the plastic matrix. This intricate interplay culminates in the metamorphosis of old polyurethane foam—typically destined for single-use—into a rejuvenated, reshaped foam product.

Intriguingly, the nontoxic catalysts demonstrated remarkable reprocessing capabilities, enabling the recycling of polyurethane foam through multiple cycles—four or five, to be precise—without compromising its inherent properties. This stands in stark contrast to the conventional polymer recycling approach, which involves melting down plastics for remolding. However, such a methodology proves ineffective for durable plastics like polyurethanes, owing to their densely crosslinked nature. Closed-loop rPE

William Dichtel, the esteemed Robert L. Letsinger Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, offers keen insights into the research: “The types of polymers that require this catalyst approach are called thermosets, or crosslinked polymers.” He goes on to underline the significance of thermosets, emphasizing their unparalleled durability and stability. Nevertheless, these attributes traditionally clash with recyclability—a paradox that this breakthrough addresses head-on. Dichtel emphasizes the far-reaching benefits: “New methods to recycle thermosets will reduce greenhouse emissions, save energy and decrease landfill use.”

Remarkably, the collaboration leading to this transformative discovery included scientists from BASF, a prominent polyurethane producer. The implications of this innovation extend beyond the laboratory, as it holds the potential to revolutionize post-consumer polyurethane foam products and unused industrial plastic scraps. Rigorous testing, including dynamic mechanical thermal analysis, corroborated the suitability of the recycled material for practical applications. Closed-loop rPE

The utility of the foam-to-foam extrusion process is further underscored by its ability to yield controlled, consistent foam structures. By subjecting the recycled materials to tests for cell diameter and cell number density, researchers established the reproducibility and reliability of the technique.

This landmark research finds its culmination in the pages of the journal Macromolecules, under the title “Green Catalysts for Reprocessing Thermoset Polyurethanes.” As society grapples with the imperative of sustainable practices, this innovation shines as a beacon of hope, illuminating a path towards a future where plastics can be reborn, repurposed, and redeemed.Closed-loop rPE

Revolutionizing Recycling: Transforming Old Plastics into New with Innovative Process

Japan’s Mitsui, others to jointly study hydrogen, ammonia supply chain in Osaka

Mitsui & Co., Mitsui Chemicals, IHI Corp, and Kansai Electric Power Co., prominent players in Japan’s industrial landscape, have embarked on a collaborative venture aimed at exploring the establishment of a hydrogen and ammonia supply chain within the Osaka coastal industrial zone. This strategic initiative, reported by Reuters, underscores their commitment to advancing sustainable energy solutions and fortifying Japan’s energy security.

The announcement of this groundbreaking partnership comes hot on the heels of another significant development in the Osaka Bay area. Eneos and Osaka Gas, two influential entities in the energy sector, recently declared their intent to investigate the feasibility of constructing a substantial e-methane facility, driven by green hydrogen technology. This facility, if realized, would contribute significantly to the region’s energy landscape.

The primary focus of this joint endeavor is to delve into various aspects of ammonia handling, encompassing receipt, storage, and distribution within the Osaka region. Ammonia, a versatile substance with applications ranging from power generation to various industrial processes, is poised to play a pivotal role in reducing dependence on traditional fossil fuels. By expanding its utilization in the Kansai and nearby Setouchi regions, the consortium aims to contribute substantially to Japan’s broader energy security strategy. Closed-loop rPE

Hydrogen and ammonia are at the forefront of Japan’s energy revolution, primarily due to their carbon-neutral combustion properties. When burned, they do not release carbon dioxide (CO2), making them vital components of Japan’s efforts to reduce its reliance on conventional fossil fuels. Mitsui, as Japan’s largest ammonia importer, is well-positioned to leverage its expertise in this field to drive innovation and sustainable growth.

In a parallel development, a group comprising Tokyo Gas Co., Osaka Gas Co., Toho Gas Co., Mitsubishi Corp, and Sempra Infrastructure Partners LP unveiled plans to explore e-methane exports to Japan from the United States. This ambitious project envisions the creation of a facility capable of producing a staggering 130,000 metric tons of e-methane annually. This e-methane would be generated in Texas or Louisiana in the United States, subsequently liquefied at the nearby Cameron liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, and then shipped to Japan, with operations commencing as early as 2030.

The magnitude of this endeavor cannot be understated, as it is equivalent to a remarkable 1% of the annual gas demand of major Japanese players, including Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, and Toho Gas. Closed-loop rPE

However, specific investment figures were not disclosed in the joint statement, leaving room for anticipation and curiosity regarding the financial aspects of this monumental project.

The implications of these collaborative efforts extend far beyond their immediate scope. Japan’s commitment to advancing hydrogen and ammonia technologies signifies a concerted effort to transition towards cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. Hydrogen, in particular, has garnered considerable attention as a potential game-changer in the energy landscape. Its use in fuel cells, transportation, and industrial processes holds the promise of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and advancing Japan’s climate goals. Closed-loop rPE

Furthermore, the international dimension of these projects, such as the potential import of e-methane from the United States, underscores the global nature of the clean energy transition. Collaborations between Japanese and international entities not only facilitate the exchange of knowledge and resources but also contribute to strengthening global energy security and promoting eco-friendly practices.

In conclusion, the joint efforts of Mitsui & Co., Mitsui Chemicals, IHI Corp, and Kansai Electric Power Co., along with the initiatives of Tokyo Gas Co., Osaka Gas Co., Toho Gas Co., Mitsubishi Corp, and Sempra Infrastructure Partners LP, exemplify Japan’s commitment to embracing cleaner and more sustainable energy solutions. These endeavors are pivotal in achieving energy security, reducing carbon emissions, and propelling Japan toward a greener and more resilient energy future.

As these projects unfold and evolve, they have the potential to shape the trajectory of the global energy landscape and inspire further innovations in the pursuit of a sustainable future. Closed-loop rPE

Japan's Mitsui, others to jointly study hydrogen, ammonia supply chain in Osaka

Sustainable Packaging Plastic – Here’s how BRICS expansion could shake the world economy 01-09-2023

Closed-loop rPE