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Suez and Lyondellbasell to boost production of high-quality recycled plastics in Europe

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

SUEZ and LyondellBasell have signed an agreement establishing a joint venture that will focus on the production of high-quality circular polymers. The two parties will leverage combined expertise to provide European plastic industry with virgin-like secondary raw material. This is the first time ever that one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies partners with a leading player in the management of resources to contribute to circular economy objectives.

Under the terms of the agreement, LyondellBasell will be a 50:50 partner with Suez in QCP, a high standard plastics recovering company located near Maastricht in the Netherlands. Founded in 2014, QCP produces high-quality raw materials for the plastics industry. Its Sittard-Geleen facility is converting consumer waste into 25 000 t of polypropylene (PP) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) per year. The company manufactures two grades of HDPE and eight grades of PP copolymer.

With an objective of 35 000 t in 2018, and 50 000 t before 2020, the production capacity of the plant will be unique in Europe. Within the new agreement, LyondellBasell will market QCP materials, as Suez will be responsible in feeding of the plant with post-consumer plastic waste. The two partners will benefit from the strategic location of QCP, located in the heart of the Netherlands - Belgium - Germany triangle and close to France.

“As the circular economy continues to grow, we also believe that demand for recycled materials will grow as well,” said Richard Roudeix, LyondellBasell’s Senior Vice President, Olefins & Polyolefins for Europe, Asia and International. “This acquisition positions LyondellBasell to actively participate in the circular economy, marrying LyondellBasell’s European market presence and technical capabilities with SUEZ’s ability to reclaim and manage recoverable waste products.”

“In Europe, only 7% of the 50 Mio annual tonnage used is recycled polymer, and 93% is still virgin materials coming from fossil fuels,” said Jean-Marc Boursier, Group Senior Executive Vice President in charge of Recycling & Recovery Europe. “Together with LyondellBasell, we aim to speed up the use of circular polymers and industrial manufacturers to reach their environmental targets. This partnership represents a new step in Suez plastics strategy in Europe, and it will help to reach our objective to process 600 000 t of plastic waste in 2020.”

Plastics recycling is a key market for Suez. The group operates 9 specialist facilities in Europe in which every year 400 000 t of plastic waste are processed and 150 t of new plastic resources are produced.

In Europe, plastics recycling is now a growing market because of the constantly changing regulations – the EU aims at a 55% recycling rate in 2025 – and the growing demands of manufacturers. Almost 50 million t of plastic waste are produced every year in Europe, and only 25% of which is recycled.

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