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Borealis becomes a Core Partner of the New Plastics Economy

A global initiative led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the New Plastics Economy unites a range of stakeholders to bring about a circular economy for plastics.


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October 24, 2019 by Canadian Plastics

Chemical maker Borealis will become a Core Partner of the New Plastics Economy, a global initiative led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

The New Plastics Economy is designed to unite a broad range of stakeholders to bring about a circular economy for plastics, so that plastic never becomes waste or pollution.

Having been a participant in the initiative since 2016 and the first major polyolefins producer to have signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, Austria-based Borealis said it is now the first polyolefins producer to become a Core Partner. Other Core Partners include brands such as The Coca-Cola Co., Danone, and Unilever.

In signing onto the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, Borealis endorses the vision of a circular economy for plastics, and is committed to significantly increase the number and range of recycled plastic solutions it offers.

The company has now initiated what it calls “a comprehensive circular economy strategy” based on three main pillars:

  • ­Borealis is making its core business circular through the gradual shift from a model based on the extraction of fossil resources, towards one based on the circulation of materials. This involves making recycling and renewable feedstock part of the core Borealis business. With two plastics recycling operations in Germany and Austria, Borealis aims to have increased the volume of its recycled plastic solutions to 350,000 tons per year by 2025.
  • ­Borealis supports its customers through circular economy innovation by leveraging its expertise in the development and implementation of novel polyolefins-based solutions for plastics reuse and recycling, and by designing for recyclability (DfR). This broad scope of activity is housed under the symbolic roof of EverMinds, the Borealis platform dedicated to promoting a more circular mind-set in the industry. Borealis has also entered into several important partnerships that are currently developing circular products, business models, and technologies. For example, Borealis has teamed up with OMV in the ReOil project to advance the chemical recycling of post-consumer plastics.
  • ­Borealis is helping establish circular infrastructure in Southeast Asia by way of Project STOP, or “Stop Ocean Plastics.” As a founding and strategic partner together with SYSTEMIQ, Borealis and the partners in project STOP have earmarked nearly 14 million euros for investment to the year 2025 for the design, implementation, and scaling-up of circular economy solutions that address the issue of marine plastic pollution at one important source: Southeast Asia, where the rates of ocean plastic leakage are the highest in the world. The first city partnership in Muncar, Indonesia, which began in 2017, is already making a significant contribution to waste management in the community. Two new city partnerships will be started in 2020.

“To address plastic waste at source, we need to fundamentally rethink the way we produce, use and reuse plastics,” said Sander Defruyt, who leads the New Plastics Economy initiative at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “It is great to see Borealis, as a major plastic producer, step forward to help accelerate that transition,” “In addition to developing innovative solutions and investing in infrastructure in emerging markets, Borealis is leading the way by transitioning its own business model, gradually decoupling from virgin fossil-based production by integrating more and more recycled and renewable plastics in their products. We hope to see many other plastic producers follow their lead.”