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Dow Wants to Turn Piles of Plastic Trash Into Oil

Dow Wants to Turn Piles of Plastic Trash Into Oil thumbnail

Dow Inc. is partnering with the Dutch developer of a method for turning plastic trash back into oil as the global chemical powerhouse seeks to expand recycling amid rising alarm over pollution.

Fuenix Ecogy Group has created a method for breaking down plastic into a form that can be used in a fresh round of manufacturing. Dow plans to implement the process at its plant in Terneuzen, the Netherlands, and make it a recycling mainstay, the companies said Thursday.

Dow Partners With Dutch Recycler to Tackle Plastic Trash Piles

The Dow plant in Terneuzen takes its first delivery from Fuenix.

Source: Dow Inc.

Chemical companies are under pressure to address plastic waste that clogs oceans, damaging wildlife and ecosystems around the world. Manufacturers and consumer brands are trying to head off a backlash that’s already eroding demand.

Retail and consumer giants including Unilever NV and Walmart Inc. have committed to increase use of recycled plastics, creating an estimated $120 billion market in Canada and the U.S. alone. A lack of cost-effective technology has been one of the biggest obstacles.

Transformational Technologies

At least 60 companies are working on solutions and need investment to scale up more quickly, according to a report by Closed Loop Partners, an investment firm focused on cutting waste in the economy. The vast majority of the plastic sent out into the world is never recovered, and nearly 90% of such waste ends up in landfills, incinerators, rivers and oceans. Only about 6% of plastics used in the U.S. and Canada are available for recycling, according to the report.

Also Read: These Companies Are Trying to Reinvent Recycling

Fuenix’s technology is a more flexible solution than traditional mechanical recycling, which reuses plastic for a limited range of applications, according to Dow, one of the worlds’ biggest manufacturers. The product of the process, called pyrolysis oil, is appropriate for making food packaging and medical products that normally require freshly mined hydrocarbons such as crude oil.

“You can’t see the difference,” said Carsten Larsen, Dow’s director of recycling in Asia and Europe, in an interview. “The plastics that we make from the pyrolysis oil and the crude oil are the same.”

Fuenix, which developed the technology over the past seven years, is focusing on recovering plastics that can’t otherwise be reused or recycled. Most companies with similar processes convert plastic waste into fuel, Chief Executive Officer Sirt Mellema said in an interview.

The partnership will help Dow use at least 100,000 tons of recycled plastic to make products sold in the European Union by 2025, the company said in a release. The EU is moving to ban single-use plastics, such as plates, cutlery and straws as early as 2021 in a bid to reduce ocean waste.

The technology offers a 65% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared with methods such as incinerating waste with energy recovery, Fuenix said, and it’s seeking additional partnerships to expand.

The approach has the potential to address a broad market and compete with petroleum products, “something that the vast majority of mechanically recycled plastics cannot do,” said Maarten Bakker, a professor of resources and recycling at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

“It’s a promising technology for certain waste streams that cannot now be processed mechanically,” he said.


39 Comments on "Dow Wants to Turn Piles of Plastic Trash Into Oil"

  1. Cloggie on Sun, 1st Sep 2019 2:48 pm 

    This is the plant in Weert:

    The plastic is gasified first and the original raw materials are recovered: paraffine, diesel, benzine and liquid gas.

    The Dutch government is involved as well (LiOF).

    Potential in Europe: 18 million ton/year.

    The initial goal is 100,000 ton/year in 2025:

  2. Chrome Mags on Sun, 1st Sep 2019 3:15 pm 

    That’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time. I hope it’s a success and plants can be scaled up and built wherever needed worldwide.

  3. asg70 on Sun, 1st Sep 2019 6:52 pm 

    Yep, this development is a long time coming. DOW isn’t all bad.

  4. makati1 on Sun, 1st Sep 2019 7:53 pm 

    Why not stop making plastics in the first place? The world did fine without them for all but the last 100 years.

    If DOW is involved, it will be very expensive, polluting and dangerous to all life. They do nothing that is not for profit. Maybe they should stop making all of the poisons that are killing people and the ecology instead?

    We don’t need plastics. Certainly not in the wasteful quantities we consume/waste. But the project is not likely to succeed and die out. “The approach has the potential…” Sounds like they are trolling for suckers…

  5. Robert Inget on Sun, 1st Sep 2019 8:12 pm 

    Live by plastic die by plastic.

    Johnny Cash Lyrics
    “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”

    I was standing by the window
    On one cold and cloudy day
    When I saw the hearse come rolling
    For to carry my mother away

    Will the circle be unbroken
    By and by Lord, by and by
    There’s a better home awaiting
    In the sky Lord, in the sky

    I said to the undertaker
    Undertaker please drive slow
    For this lady you are carrying
    Lord I hate to see her go

    Will the circle be unbroken
    By and by Lord, by and by
    There’s a better home awaiting
    In the sky Lord, in the sky

    Oh, I followed close behind her
    Tried to hold up and be brave
    But I could not hide my sorrow
    When they laid her in the grave

    Will the circle be unbroken
    By and by Lord, by and by
    There’s a better home awaiting
    In the sky Lord, in the sky

    I went back home, the home was lonesome
    Since my mother, she was gone
    All my brothers and sisters crying
    What a home so sad and alone

    Will the circle be unbroken
    By and by Lord, by and by
    There’s a better home awaiting
    In the sky Lord, in the sky

    We sang songs of childhood
    Hymns of faith that made us strong
    Ones that mother Maybelle taught us
    Hear the angels sing along

    Will the circle be unbroken
    By and by Lord, by and by
    There’s a better home awaiting
    In the sky Lord, in the sky

    LYRICS asside. You know we are in trouble when
    big oil needs to collect petroleum based plastics we were saving for our kids to make oil from.

  6. Robert Inget on Sun, 1st Sep 2019 8:17 pm 

    “Most traditional oil companies, state run companies exist to convert oil into dollars. Shale on the other hand, exists to convert dollars into oil.”

  7. Anonymouse on Sun, 1st Sep 2019 9:57 pm 

    Plastic > Oil is not remotely net energy positive. It (might) make a few tons here and there disappear depending on the economics (ie subsidies)……and then it re-appear right back into the atmosphere once it gets (re)burned as oil redux. But hey, DOW has discovered a much better place to store all that waste plastic instead of all those unsightly landfills, your lungs.


  8. ahoyimasupremacistmuzzie on Sun, 1st Sep 2019 11:29 pm 

    Im a supremacist muzzie monkey
    Allah didn’t protect my muzzie fighters their carcasses swole up and smell nasty

  9. makati1 on Sun, 1st Sep 2019 11:49 pm 

    Anon, Amerikans have no clue about physics. They confuse it with phys ed, if they think about it at all. I doubt it.

    Using more energy to convert plastics to another means to pollute the air, as you say, is ALL about $$$. Better it goes into a landfill. Better yet, don’t use it at all.

    Financial/economic insanity is so rampant in the capitalist countries, that it is going to be a heart stopper for them when the SHTF and BAU becomes a survival-of-the-fittest scenario.

    Meanwhile…watching Dorian…Cat 5 and moving where????

  10. Shortend on Mon, 2nd Sep 2019 1:24 am 

    Sure they do! That sounds like a real energy source and will fill up a few SUVs for those California LA freeway junkies.. LOL
    Boy, as we near the end of the Oil Age the most unbelievable BS will be thrown out there!

  11. Cloggie on Mon, 2nd Sep 2019 1:26 am 

    “Yep, this development is a long time coming. DOW isn’t all bad.”

    Not to mention the inventor of the process, Fuenix:

    Dow realizes that its plastics have a bad name as ocean destroyer so it sees itself forced to help cleaning up the mess in order to protect its business:

    “Plastic > Oil is not remotely net energy positive. ”

    To make matters worse, no sugar powder is produced either. The point is nobody claims that the process is net energy positive or that sugar powder is produced, Great Thinker.

    The point is to create a closed carbon cycle:

    oil —> plastic —> oil —> plastic, etc.

    …and make plastic production carbon neutral. For the moment Fuenix claims 65% CO2 emission reduction and 100% circular. So I ***guess*** that the remaining 35% is sourced from fossil fuel burning, necessary to heat the plastic and evaporate it, something that could be replaced by renewable electricity in the future, providing a nice demand buffet, because Dow can wait a little until abundant wind is blowing so they can fire up their super-duper plastic-to-oil converter.

    In the ideal case, Dow will invest in wind farms of their own, shun buying oil and instead collect plastic waste… in order to produce new plastic from old plastic.

    Everybody happy.

  12. Cloggie on Mon, 2nd Sep 2019 2:20 am 

    Apparently the British have a parallel trail, “Recycling Technologies”, Swindon:

    An important development is that China has closed its door for waste (burning, making pellets out of plastic). Now Malaysia is the new dumping ground. A lot disappears in the ocean.

    Currently only 9% of the world’s plastic is recycled. Plastic recycling is a myth, in reality it is burned, if it doesn’t end up in a landfill, or worse in the ocean.

    Back to recycling: the Swindon plant operates at very high temperatures. So what, scrap steel is recycled in an electric furnace, so why not plastic as well.

  13. dave thompson on Mon, 2nd Sep 2019 4:03 am 

    Article from Bloomberg. This becomes the tell. Bloomberg like to paint a pretty picture for all of the worlds privileged. Oh look. Another investment opportunity like fracking and building pipelines.

  14. Davy on Mon, 2nd Sep 2019 4:55 am 

    “Shell’s new plastics plant faces challenges: Balancing local and global impacts” marketplace

    “The site, owned by Shell, is 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh on the Ohio River. Once it’s fully up and running, it will create millions of tons of plastics every year, as well as 600 jobs. In the construction phase, up to 6,000 people are employed on site. This Shell video shows construction at the Pennsylvania site, using one of the largest land cranes in the world. Many of our conveniences in modern life are made with plastics — they’re crucial for everything from keeping food fresh to helping make vehicles lighter-weight and more efficient. Much of it is recyclable, but not all. Environmental experts say producing new, virgin plastic makes recycling even more difficult, because it puts pressure on the price and the economics don’t work out.”

    Clearly single use plastic made from virgin plastic needs to be taxed to make recycled plastic derivatives more appealing. Marketing is a part of the problem with some plastic waste. So much goes into packaging that represents waste to market a product. Stupid toys are an issue. A McDonald fun meal prize is a stupid example of waste. Plastic straws and cups can be greatly reduced. Fast food is notorious example of massive plastic waste. More cardboard could be used.

    I doubt we can do away with plastics and still be modern. Our food system is dependent on plastic. There are few alternatives to packaging food that work like plastic. Special paper can be used in some cases. More glass has the issue of weight and itself a waste stream. More reusable glass is a possibility. I remember returning soda bottles for money in the 80’s. Long neck beer bottles were returnable up until recently. Maybe more aluminum? Aluminum seems to return well both with recycling and the industrial process of making new aluminum out of old. Modernism is plastic both mentally and physically. Until we change that we are stuck with a waste stream. The other landfill waste is not much better. Glass bottles wash up on beaches too. Sounds like a predicament.

  15. wildbourgman on Mon, 2nd Sep 2019 7:25 am 

    To me the plastic recycling scam should be one of the most damning issues for American progressives. For years we were coerced and shamed into putting our tax dollars into recycling and eventually most people (myself included) bought into it or came around to accept it. Then we find out from 60 Minutes(which is certainly not FOX) that all of this plastic was shipped to the far east and it eventually found its way into streets, rivers, and eventually the Pacific ocean. Now we are being asked to pay for the clean up again. That plastic would have been better off in American land fills.

    I’m sure that the 60 Minutes team never realized that their show proved the complete failure of one of the only things folks thought liberals actually accomplished in America in the last 30 years.

    What I want to know is was it incompetence or corruption ? Did someone gain from this recycling sham ?

    I think that DOW might be on to something and its about time.

  16. Anonymous on Mon, 2nd Sep 2019 8:17 am 

    Landfilled plastics are fine for the environment. Buried safely. They are not heavy metals or other toxins. Just inert plastic. As long as it’s not just dumped in the ocean plastic is easily discarded by simple burying. It’s really not too different than ancient civilizations burying broken ceramics.

  17. Sissyfuss on Mon, 2nd Sep 2019 9:46 am 

    Been involved in the recycling industry and problems with the composition of the plastic containers were constant. At the time we could only find markets for 2 of the more than 6 mixtures of plastic content in products. It seemed as if the manufacturers kept coming up with more combinations to attract bored consumers. A standard that kept composition to a few unadulterated versions would greatly simplify the process.

  18. Duncan Idaho on Mon, 2nd Sep 2019 11:29 am 

    The U.S. manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers’ index) was 49.9 in August, down from 50.4 in July.

    The reading is below the neutral 50.0 threshold for the first time since September 2009, according to IHS Markit. Any reading below 50 signals a contraction.

  19. Davy on Mon, 2nd Sep 2019 12:42 pm 

    Idaho, you got a link??

  20. Davy on Mon, 2nd Sep 2019 1:01 pm 

    Oops, sorry Idaho. Us retards have a real hard time with googling stuff. Especially stuff we don’t like to read.

  21. JuanPaultard ID theft on Mon, 2nd Sep 2019 1:08 pm 

    “Davy on Mon, 2nd Sep 2019 1:01 pm”

    juanpaultard, I thought you were a sserfer bitch. Go out and play in the storm surge, cunt.

  22. Robert Inget on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 10:04 am 

    Plastic is difficult to recycle in a conventional manner. All that sorting ya know.

    99% of plastics are made with oil.
    Since China ain’t taking our refuse, we have no choice but to reuse the stuff in some ways.

    The real ‘tell’ here. Shell, the biggest of Western Big Oils is looking to paint some green on it’s

    When, not if, Shale peters out, we have exported
    or sold below cost of production the last of ‘our’

    So Anoynomus, it doesn’t really matter about TODAY’s economics of conversion it’s the future of Shell that counts. Planets come later.

  23. Duncan Idaho on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 10:24 am 

    Dow 30

    Hint: Plastic is not recyclable– it is downcyclable.

  24. Kenz300 on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 10:33 am 

    All plastic needs to be recycled.

    All new plastic products need to be made from recycled materials.

    Single use plastic products should be outlawed

    There is too much waste plastic already on this planet.

  25. Duncan Idaho on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 10:51 am 

    “New study discovers small number of influential users share homogeneous content sometimes associated with state-sponsored propaganda”

  26. Duncan Idaho on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 11:14 am 

    Sorry Davy, here is the link you requested

  27. Davy on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 11:51 am 

    idaho, no reason to be sorry. Certain references should have a link or you look sloppy. Just sayin.

  28. Dredd on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 1:30 pm 

    It’s in your feces already:

    And in the Arctic, and … the air … the water …

  29. Sissyfuss on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 2:15 pm 

    Now I know why you’re called Dredd.

  30. Anonymouse on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 5:24 pm 

    No one here has to do anything you say, especially demands from a sloppy, insane lunatic like you exceptionaltard. You can take your demands for ‘links’ and shove em where the sun doesn’t shine. Like under your work boots. That’s a spot hasn’t seen sunlight in decades.

  31. supremacistmuzziemonkey on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 5:29 pm 

    anonterd pbuh
    please don’t address supertard pbuh in disrespectful manner

  32. makati1 on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 5:35 pm 

    Davy, the word salad retard who NEVER posts a ref for his bullshit. Nor does he EVER check out what other’s references say. He is just being the arrogant asshole as always. Ignore.

  33. supremacist muzzie monkey on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 5:42 pm 

    makaterd pbuh
    please don’t be envirous of supertard pbuh italian wife
    you’re just a loner women don’t want to approach you with a 20ft pole.
    enjoy your loneliness and old age with bf’s.
    i have bf’s but i’m not proud of it.

  34. Davy on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 6:05 pm 

    “Davy, the word salad retard who NEVER posts a ref for his bullshit. Nor does he EVER check out what other’s references say. He is just being the arrogant asshole as always. Ignore.”

    whads da madder makato? Are you still hurting from the last time I silenced you? LMFAO. You are not capable of a word salad nor are you able to read anything deep that a word salad represents. The same is true of your best friends here annoymouse and juan paultard. You are a shallow stupid old man stuck in anti-Americanism because your American life was a complete failure. No wonder you are so angry. BTW, you can’t ignore me can you?? Double lol!

  35. Davy on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 6:09 pm 

    I like to pretend that I neutered you real good Idaho. That makes my feelings feel all important like.

  36. Davy on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 6:09 pm 

    I like to pretend that I neutered you real good makato. That makes my widdle feelings feel all important like.

  37. Davy on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 6:11 pm 

    Oops, sorry for losing my widdle temper again everyone.

    I always do that when I get real triggered.

  38. juan paultard madness on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 6:18 pm 

    Davy said Oops, sorry for losing my widdle temper again ever…
    Davy said I like to pretend that I neutered you real good ma…

  39. Davy Socks on Tue, 3rd Sep 2019 6:22 pm 



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