Petrotahlil - Russia's Sibur is to produce green polyethylene terephthalate (PET) granules from its POLIEF site using PET flakes derived from used food packaging as part of its 2025 Sustainability Strategy, the company announced on Wednesday.
According to a spokesperson contacted by ICIS, the company has just made a final investment decision (FID) and started the implementation of the project.
The granules, similar to a blended or hybrid pellet, will contain a mix of both virgin and recycled PET, and will utilise up to 34,000 tonnes/year of recycled PET flake.
Sibur will produce the granules from its POLIEF site in Blagoveshchensk, Republic of Bashkortostan, and will also be investing in equipment to treat and sort flakes.
Evgeny Semenko, CEO of POLIEF said: “We expect to start using recycled polyethylene terephthalate packaging at POLIEF by mid-2022. This will enable us to offer both primary and secondary PET and contribute to promoting the circular economy.
The PET flakes will be sourced from different parts of Russia, with Bashkortostan and the neighboring regions having priority.
Bashkortostan currently collects 4,000 tonnes of used PET bottles per year, with the potential to reach 20,000 tonne/year if improvements are made in the collection and sorting process.
Helen McGeough, Senior Analyst and Global Team Lead Plastic Recycling at ICIS said: “To date there has been limited development in recycling capacity within the Russian market, due to the lack of infrastructure in collection and sorting across the country. In the PET recycling market production has been focused on R-PET flake, which does offer Sibur potential supply with over 100,000 tonnes."
The granules, which Sibur said are ‘compliant with the highest standards’, will initially be used in the domestic market, but may also be used to serve other markets depending on demand and the specific market, the spokesperson said.
"This project will be the first offering of PET resin with recycled content within the Russian market, pre-empting the demand trends seen elsewhere. Demand for resins that included recycled content may not be as strong a presence in the Western European market, but will no doubt emerge as brands expand their usage of recycled content in packaging, bottles in particular, across other regions.
"The supply constraint in West Europe food grade R-PET supply offers Sibur the opportunity to export the hybrid pellet [to EU countries], as the usage of R-PET needs to triple to meet the EU Single Use Plastic (SUP) targets”, McGeough added.
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Source : ICIS