Nov 30

Total Bets on Plastic Recycling

Theo Normanton
Oct 5, 2021
Image: Total Media

TotalEnergies has announced a plan to double its mechanical recycling production for polymers. This will be achieved by installing two new production lines in a French recycled polypropylene plant owned by its subsidiary Synova.

Total acquired Synova in 2019. It is the French leader in recycled polypropylene production, turning industrial waste plastics, household waste and car parts into recycled polymers with the same properties as virgin polymers. The expansion of Synova’s capacity will see it produce almost 45,000 tonnes of recycled polypropylene per year, according to Total.

The company says that this investment comes in response to growing demand for recycled plastics from customers, including players in the automotive and construction industries. The move will also help Total progress towards its goal of producing 30% recycled and renewable polymers by 2030.

Valérie Goff, Senior Vice President of Polymers at TotalEnergies’ Refining & Chemicals business segment, said: “We are perfectly positioned to meet our customers’ growing demand for more efficient and environmentally friendly polymers, all the while providing concrete answers to the challenge of managing end-of-life plastics.”

Similar investments in European plastics recycling have been announced by other petrochemicals companies over the past few years: Indorama Ventures is currently building a new PET recycling facility in France and expanding two similar plants in Poland, while Shell announced last month that it had acquired a stake in BlueAlp Holding, with a view to using the company’s technology for converting plastic waste to feedstock to advance its recycling capabilities.

Earlier this year, Shell published an energy transition plan that would see Europe’s largest oil and gas company achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Total’s plan for expanding recycled polypropylene production comes a year after it announced the construction of a second bio-based and biodegradable plastic production plant with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes per year.

Such investments in recycling infrastructure are widely welcomed by European governments. But some critics say that they do not go far enough towards meeting European targets, such as achieving 10 million tonnes of recycled plastic in the EU product stream each year by 2025.

According to a report by McKinsey & Company, nearly 60% of plastics demand could be covered by recycled resins by 2050.

Theo Normanton

Theo Normanton covers tech, ESG and the circular economy, with a particular interest in the markets of Russia and the CIS.

Tweets at: @TheoNormanton

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