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Shell producing high-end chemicals from plastic waste

Oil major Shell has announced it has started using a technique to process plastic waste, which is usually difficult to recycle, into a liquid feedstock that can be further processed to produce high-end chemicals.

The development of the new process, which is called pyrolysis, forms part of Shell’s goal to recycle a million tons of plastic in its global chemical plants by 2025.

Shell is cooperating with a number of companies in Europe, Asia, and North America that collect and process waste plastic with the aim of using these waste materials in its plants on an economically feasible, industrial scale. The first shipment of pyrolysis liquid was recently delivered by Nexus Fuels LLC, which is based in Atlanta, to Shell’s plant in Louisiana. It was then processed into chemicals that could then be used to make new products for everyday use.

Shell’s Executive Vice President for global chemicals business, Thomas Casparie, said about the development:

“This makes sense for the environment and our business. We want to take waste plastics that are tough to recycle by traditional methods and turn them back into chemicals—creating a circle. These chemicals will meet our customers’ growing demands for high quality and sustainable products.”

Shell was among the founding members of the not-for-profit organization the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. It is also currently working with consumers of its lubricant products and business fuel users, as well as retail customers, to reduce the use of plastic and promote recycling.

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