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ORLEN to co-develop international circular economy project

Polish energy company ORLEN announced on Friday (29 December) that it is joining NEXTLOOPP, an international recycling project aimed to create and commercialise circular food-grade recycled polypropylene (rPP) from post-consumer waste.

Pilot tests have demonstrated the efficacy of the NEXTLOOPP solutions, with the project’s participants currently transitioning towards industrial-scale deployment, ORLEN said in a press release. The key objective is to develop the process inputs using existing infrastructure and technological processes already in place, limiting the need for additional investments in sorting facilities or specialised staff training.

“At the ORLEN Group, sustainable petrochemicals stand as a key focus of our strategic vision. Specifically, our ambition is to emerge as a frontrunner in Central and Eastern Europe in plastics recycling. By the end of 2030, we intend to raise our recycling capacity tenfold, to 300,000 tonnes per year. Attaining this target requires not only financial investment but also a dedicated focus on developing our capabilities, proprietary technologies and know-how,” said Arkadiusz Majoch, Head of the Innovative Petrochemical and Petroleum Refining Products Research and Development Office at ORLEN.

At present, the market relies exclusively on virgin plastics derived from petroleum to make packaging for foodstuffs and cosmetic products. Accordingly, a substantial segment of the market is not covered by any closed-loop solutions, which involve the reuse of materials to reduce the consumption of natural resources and minimise waste generation.

“ORLEN’s participation in NEXTLOOPP marks an opportunity for us to pioneer and implement innovative solutions on a commercial scale, bringing closed-loop solutions into untapped market segments,” added Mr Majoch. “This move is not only aligned with the increasingly stringent environmental standards but also positions the ORLEN Group to meet the expectations of its industrial customers and consumers.”

By participating in NEXTLOOPP, ORLEN is set to gain access to state-of-the-art polymer recycling and processing technologies, engaging in preparations for their commercial deployment. The initiative has already brought together 50 international industry players, including L’Oreal, Danone, Muller, Braskem, INEOS and TotalEnergies.

“Closing the loop on food grade recycled post-consumer PP packaging is fundamental to creating a climate-neutral circular economy, which is the driving force behind the NEXTLOOPP project. We are delighted to welcome ORLEN among companies that are actively working towards the goal of extending the lifecycle of polypropylene. This will help reduce CO2 emissions as well as the amount of waste that ends up landfilled or incinerated,” said Edward Kosior, Founder and Managing Director of NEXTEK and NEXTLOOPP.

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