Henkel, BASF Collaborate on Chemical Recycling
Henkel is evaluating further opportunities for integrating chemically recycled plastic in its product packaging.
More advances continue to take place in chemical recycling. Henkel has produced Perwoll bottles using chemically recycled plastic in collaboration with packaging manufacturer Alpla—this pilot project is part of the ChemCycling project led by BASF.
“We see huge potential for chemical recycling to complement conventional mechanical recycling,” said Thorsten Leopold, head of international packaging development home care at Henkel. “Mechanical recycling is limited by the fact that not all plastic waste can be reprocessed into useable material. Thanks to chemical recycling, fossil resources can be replaced with recycled material made from plastic waste. This project is an important additional step towards creating a circular economy for plastic – on this basis we are evaluating further opportunities for integrating chemically recycled plastic in our product packaging.”
Chemical recycling allows plastic waste that can’t be recycled mechanically to be reintroduced into the material cycle. ChemCycling uses thermo-chemical processes to transform plastic waste into pyrolysis oil. This secondary raw material then serves as feedstock for the chemical industry to produce plastic for various purposes, such as packaging. The packaging produced using these chemically recycled materials is reportedly of the same quality as packaging made of new plastic. This allows fossil resources to be saved and waste to be reduced.
Henkel says this the collaboration with BASF and Alpla on the ChemCycling project is another example of its commitment to sustainable packaging. When integrating recycled plastic in its packaging, Henkel uses 99% of recycled plastic from consumer households (post-consumer recycled material). In addition, Henkel is working on improving its packaging’s recyclability: for example, they developed the first recyclable black packaging and introduced perforated sleeves that can easily be removed when disposing the bottle. Most recently, Henkel made its software tool for evaluating the recyclability of packaging (EasyD4R) – which was developed in-house – available to other companies for free.
To drive progress towards a circular economy, Henkel is also partnering with various players across its value chain: the company is a member of the German Rezyklat-Forum, the Global Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) and the New Plastics Economy (NPEC).
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