bioplastics

Bioplastics and plastics recycling

AFRY and the forest, chemical and recycling industries are in a key position in the three main plastics substitutions; fibre-based, bioplastics and circular plastics

AFRY’s offering for the chemicals and biochemicals industry spans the full project lifecycle, from strategic advisory services for the evolving bio-based markets to complete engineering and project execution capabilities. Our consulting insight and proven expertise in bio-based feedstock handling, combined with thorough chemicals and petrochemicals competence, is a unique combination.

The world is crying out for a solution to the plastic problem, not only because of the huge amount of fossil-based oil that is needed for its production but also because used plastics too often end up discarded in nature. Today, only a fraction of global chemicals and plastics produced are based on renewable biomass or recycled plastics and there is a need and opportunity for change.

The plastic production is closing in on 400 million tonnes annually. The production of bioplastics for bio-based content, with value especially in branded goods, is still a hot topic. The need for plastics has not disappeared and the forecasts for plastics up to 2050 still show a tripling/quadrupling, despite large amounts of polluting consumer plastics disappearing.

Bioplastics are a part of the solution together with mechanical and chemical recycling. With circular solutions becoming the pragmatic alternatives, it means that recycled and bio-based plastics will gradually cumulate in the circulation loops and will in time replace a growing part of the crude based plastics.

The plastic recycling route is complicated and not without challenges. However, technological advances are being made, creating technically viable and cost-competitive recycling techniques. As plastics require appropriate collection and sorting, a critical factor is recycling structures and also having the consumer mindset in place on a global level.

Tuukka Sormunen
Head of Chemicals and Biorefining, Process Industries Division

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