Plastics made from petrochemicals are essential to a range of products that enable modern life – from protective medical equipment to construction materials to automobile parts. But, some plastics are hard to recycle and end up as plastic waste in the environment.
Advanced recycling transforms plastic waste into the raw materials used in the process of making virgin-quality plastic and other valuable products. Compared to mechanical recycling process, there are no evident technical limitations to how many times a plastic product can be put through this process.
Deploying advanced recycling solutions will expand the range of materials that can be recycled and will help maintain the performance of products over multiple recycling loops.
Exxon Mobil has used a proprietary advanced recycling technology in a plant trial at its Baytown, Texas complex and is scaling up operations to supply certified circular polymers by the end of 2021. The trial has successfully recycled more than 1,000 metric tons of plastic waste – the equivalent of 200 million grocery bags – and has demonstrated the capability of processing 50 metric tons per day. Exxon Mobil is building its first, large-scale plastic waste advanced recycling facility at the above complex. Operations are expected to start by the end of 2022. This new facility will be among North America’s largest plastic waste recycling facilities, with an initial planned capacity to recycle 30,000 metric tons of plastic waste per year and the possibility of further expansion.
ExxonMobil has already obtained certifications through the well-recognized International Sustainability and Carbon Certification Plus (ISCC Plus) system for several of its facilities. This will allow the company to meet customers’ growing demand for certified circular plastics.
ExxonMobil is also developing plans to build approximately 500,000 tons per year of advanced recycling capacity over the next five years, with facilities in construction or under assessment in North America, Europe and Asia. ExxonMobil is also working with others to help find solutions to the global plastic waste challenge and has formed a joint venture with Agilyx Corporation – called Cyclyx International LLC – to help address the need for increased collection and sorting of plastic waste to support the scale up in advanced recycling.