In recent years, the European Union has come up with the Circular Economy policy, whose vision is to eliminate waste and to ensure that resources remain in use continually. Circular systems employ reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to create a closed-loop system, minimizing the use of resource inputs and the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions. The European Commission is now implementing a Circular Economy Action Plan, which introduces a number of measures targeting areas where action at the EU level brings real added value.
Resource efficiency and waste reduction are of utmost importance for LANXESS and the company has committed to ambitious waste and CO2 reduction targets. LANXESS, as a major player in the plastics and polymer additives space, also recognizes that it has an important role to play in the Circular Economy journey. The Management Board of LANXESS, in embracing this philosophy, has empowered senior leadership to fully engage in projects appropriate to their Business Units. Accordingly, a number of initiatives have already commenced or are at advanced stages. We are actively pursuing projects in order to demonstrate that our flame retardants are ready for Circular Economy.
For example, we are members of the Polystyrene Loop Cooperative that aims to remove problematic legacy substances such as HBCD from waste streams, turning them into polystyrene and bromine for reuse. We are extending this approach to other flame retardants with the aim to recycle waste streams into valuable additive and intermediate components.
Furthermore, LANXESS cooperates with industrial and research partners to investigate the behaviour of products in different recycling techniques. This approach is in line with our belief that a truly Circular Economy can only be achieved by utilizing mechanical and (thermo) chemical recycling pathways. As a member of the North American Flame Retardants Alliance (NAFRA), LANXESS is working together with Security Matters (SMX) to evaluate the opportunity of using SMX’s proprietary, Artificial intelligence-based chemical-tracing technology to improve sorting of plastics containing flame retardants. The business unit is also looking at the phosphorus and bromine value chains to increase the share of recycled and renewable raw materials.