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With an investment of BRL 130 million, Braskem closes the circular economy cycle
Initiatives include investments in Mechanical and Advanced Recycling plants together with Valoren and a Center for the Development of Circular Packaging
In order to reinforce its commitment to sustainable development, Braskem – market leader and pioneer in the production of biopolymers on an industrial scale – has just announced an investment of BRL 130 million in three projects focused on the circular economy: the start of construction of a circular packaging development center, the opening of a mechanical recycling plant and the start of construction of the first advanced recycling plant in Brazil with technology developed by Valoren.
Still in the first semester of this year, Braskem plans to open Cazoolo – its Packaging Development Center for Circular Economy, which will operate in the west of São Paulo capital, the result of a BRL 20 million investment. It is an innovation hub, through which the company will establish partnerships with customers, brand owners, designers, startups and universities to develop more sustainable packaging through improvements in design and in the packaging journey, from conception to post-consumption, aiming at circularity and lower environmental impact.
The project is based on Design for Environment (DfE) and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) concepts for developing innovative and sustainable packaging. Equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for rapid prototyping, Cazoolo will be open to the entire plastic packaging chain, and will aim to accelerate the advancement of packaging circularity in the region.
Besides the Center, about BRL 67 million have been invested to set up a mechanical recycling plant in Indaiatuba (SP), to be opened in March. The project is the result of a partnership with Valoren, a company that develops technology and manages waste for transformation into recycled products. It is expected that annually, at the site, 250 million post-consumption packages made of polyethylene and polypropylene – present in cleaning materials, personal hygiene, cosmetics and food, for example – be transformed into 14 thousand tons of high quality resin, which in turn will be reused as raw material in the transformation industry. The plant is already in the commissioning and assisted pre-operation phase.
An innovative front for Braskem to complement the closing of the circular economy cycle was the signing of another disruptive project with Valoren for the construction and set up of an Advanced Recycling unit, also in Indaiatuba, which will chemically transform, by means of the pyrolysis process, plastic waste into certified circular raw material to be used to manufacture resins or chemical inputs.
The new unit, which involves a joint disbursement of BRL 44 million, should start operating in the first quarter of 2023 and shall be capable of producing six thousand tons of circular products per year.
“After 6 years of research and development of innovative plastic pyrolysis technologies, we are very pleased with this further partnership with Braskem, reassuring our joint commitment to the circular economy. Valoren and Braskem have several synergies in terms of sustainability and innovation and working together for integrated recycling (mechanical and advanced), we will be able to transform plastic recycling, significantly increasing the recycling rate in Brazil,” says Heinz-Peter Elstrodt, partner and chairman of the Board at Valoren.
“We carry sustainability in our DNA and intend to be protagonists of initiatives that add value in the production chain and that contribute effectively and tangibly to the construction of a more sustainable society, aiming to ensure a better future for these and the next generations,” explains Edison Terra, vice-president of Olefins and Polyolefins at Braskem in South America. “Through these three important fronts, we want to complete the circular economy cycle and improve the processes and paths linked to plastic waste recycling in Brazil and worldwide,” he says.
Toward the Goals
These initiatives, representing an investment of more than BRL 130 million, are directly related to the goals Braskem has set for the coming years. In the effort to eliminate plastic waste, the company shall expand its product portfolio, including 300,000 tons of thermoplastic resins and chemicals with recycled content by 2025 and 1 million tons of these products by 2030. Also by 2030, it shall work to eliminate the disposal of 1.5 million tons of plastic waste for incineration, landfill, or disposal into the environment.
“These actions are a way to make Braskem’s performance tangible throughout the circular economy cycle, reinforcing the commitment of our company to sustainable development and encouraging other people and partners to also participate in initiatives that generate less impact on the environment and, at the same time, meet the needs of markets and consumers,” says Terra.