NOVA Chemicals prepares a chemical recycling pilot project

NOVA Chemicals seeks to tackle hard-to-recycle plastics | xxlphoto/Shutterstock

NOVA Chemicals is planning a pilot-scale reactor for pyrolysis of plastics in 2022, the resin maker’s latest recycling-related initiative.

In his 2021 Environmental, Social and Governance ReportNOVA also indicated that it recycles more than 99% of its industrial PE waste, or approximately 7,000 tonnes, and diverts another approximately 1,200 tonnes of PE from a landfill, sending the lumps and strands created during production changes to a plastics company for processing.

NOVA, in partnership with Enerkem, now plans to start building a pilot scale reactor. Intended to process plastics that are difficult to recycle, the reactor will use pyrolysis to convert discarded plastic into raw materials for new plastic production.

“We are investigating pyrolysis technology and continuing our work with Enerkem, the first company in the world to produce renewable methanol and ethanol from non-recyclable and non-compostable municipal solid waste at full scale,” the report said. “Together, we are partnering to develop this breakthrough technology to turn hard-to-recycle municipal waste, including plastics and other items such as household waste and building materials, into raw materials that can be used to make new plastics.

The report also noted that the company has introduced its first grades of 100% recycled PE sourced from distribution centers or raw materials for agricultural films. It is available in commercial volumes for a range of flexible film applications, such as shrink and stretch films, agricultural films, heavy duty shipping bags and trash bag liners, among others.

“In October 2021, we reached a significant milestone by delivering carload quantities of rPE,” the report said.

NOVA has also launched a series of customizable recycled PE film frame designs that can be adapted for applications such as heavy duty bags, snack shrink, stretch wrap, agricultural wrap, trash bags and liners, shrinkwrap. bubbles and air cushions.

Alongside the recycled PE lines, NOVA also launched in 2021 a PE resin, HPs267-AB, which works as a moisture barrier. This could allow the company to replace mixed-material packaging, such as non-recyclable metallized or laminated PET films.

“This resin allows packaging engineers to design a wide range of food packaging films that protect contents from contamination and spoilage without sacrificing moisture barrier performance, toughness or recyclability,” indicates the report.

Going forward, NOVA plans to maintain its annual goal of zero loss of plastic pellets to the environment from facilities, which means no resin pellets are spilled during manufacturing or transportation.

“This goal aligns with our view that plastic has no place in the environment,” the report says. “In the past three years, we have not experienced any loss of plastic pellets and we want to maintain this performance.”

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