Chimica circolare

Circular chemistry: main initiatives

Versalis believes circularity to be a strategic driver applied to processes and products throughout their life cycle.

Versalis's main lines of development in the circular economy include:

  • recycling polymers and rubbers: we develop mechanical, physical and chemical recycling technologies, using our Research and Development Department and in partnership with associations, consortia and players in the industry
  • feedstock diversification: for our products and packaging we look for new opportunities to use secondary raw materials from recycling and/or raw materials from renewable sources
  • circular industrial packaging: we pay attention to the materials used to ship Versalis products, working on circular and efficient schemes in cooperation with supply chain players

Circular projects

Versalis develops mechanical, physical and chemical recycling technologies for complementary plastics and rubbers to ensure the full circularity of our products.

Mechanical recycling has already been developed on an industrial scale and has a beneficial economic and energy impact. Alongside this, we are developing other additional innovative technologies such as chemical and physical recycling in order to achieve full product circularity.

Versalis Revive®

Versalis Revive® is the first range of different polymer-based products containing recycled plastics, developed at Versalis' research laboratories and with supply chain partnerships with associations and consortia.

Versalis Revive® has taken on one of the toughest technological challenges: giving new life to plastic and rubber waste by transforming it into innovative products that can be used in multiple quality applications.

The Versalis Revive® range was recently expanded to include not only styrenic and polyethylene materials but also elastomeric materials, in which Versalis is a leader in technological and application know-how.

Hoop®

Hoop®, the circle, the symbol par excellence of circularity: this is the name of the Versalis project for the development of a new technology for chemical plastic waste recycling.

The initiative was launched thanks to a joint development agreement with the Italian engineering company Servizi di Ricerche e Sviluppo (S.R.S), owner of a pyrolysis technology (thermochemical decomposition of polymers). This technology is being further developed to mechanically transform non-recyclable waste into raw material to produce polymers with the same characteristics as virgin polymers.

Versalis will set up an initial 6,000-tonne-per-year demonstration plant, with the aim of a subsequent progressive scaling-up starting with national production sites.

The Balance® range

The new family of ISCC PLUS* certified Balance® products includes monomers, intermediates and polymers (polyethylene, polystyrene and elastomers), from bio-naphtha and chemical recycling, with specific sustainability characteristics depending on the original raw material and with identical performance, quality and properties as the standard products, and no difference from the latter in chemical composition and physical or mechanical performance.

The availability of bio-naphtha stems from the integration with Eni, which has transformed two refineries into biorefineries in Venice Porto Marghera and Gela, guaranteeing the supply of sustainable raw material from vegetable oils, used cooking oils or other types of organic waste.

*ISCC PLUS is part of the ISCC (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification) international certification scheme, is voluntary in nature and allows companies throughout the supply chain to monitor and be able to demonstrate the sustainability of their products through the control of sustainability, traceability and mass balance requirements.

Circular packaging

Versalis aims to create a virtuous circle to recover and recycle industrial polyethylene packaging bags used at sites with polyethylene production and reintroduce them back into the system.

In the "Bag to Bag" project, the bags used for packaging and shipping polyethylene products are made from 50% recycled material and are fully recyclable, thanks to a design specifically developed to reduce the use of labelling ink.

In "Liner to Liner”, the inner linings of containers used for transporting bulk polyethylene known as Liners, are sent for recycling and transformed into new ones containing 50% recycled plastic to be reused at the local industrial site.

RiVending, the daily habit that encourages plastic recycling

Versalis has joined an initiative to collect used coffee cups at the refreshment areas in Eni’s buildings in San Donato Milanese.  This collection, thanks to the collaboration with COREPLA, the National Consortium for the Collection, Recycling and Recovery of Plastic Packaging, and the municipal company AMSA, ensures the production of a selected second raw material, which currently contributes to the Versalis plant in Mantua for the production of expandable polystyrene for insulating sheets and protective packaging for household appliances and furniture.

The RiVending project represents an example of a virtuous chain of mechanical recycling and is also potentially scalable and exportable for numerous types of plastic products for short-life applications, thus configuring itself as a system destined in the future to provide interesting volumes of selected second raw material as well as being an initiative that involves all colleagues by spreading culture and raising awareness on circularity issues.

Alliances and other initiatives

The Circular Plastics Alliance and pledges to recycling plastic

Versalis joins the Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA) to actively contribute to the ambitious European target of using 10 million tonnes of recycled plastics in new products by 2025. The Alliance’s mission, promoted by the European Commission and which has already numerous affiliated companies and associations in the industry, is to encourage the recycling of plastics in Europe and to develop the market for secondary raw materials.

With the CPA, pledges are formalised in support of the company's circular economy strategy:

  • to strengthen the recovery and recycling of all types of non-mechanically treatable plastics, we are involved in the development of a new chemical recycling technology to transform mixed plastic waste into raw material to produce new virgin polymers with characteristics identical to those derived from fossil sources and suitable for any application, including those requiring high quality and performance such as food packaging
  • within recycling and feedstock diversification, we are committed to increasing our manufacturing capacity of products with recycled plastic content to 70%
  • as regards circular packaging, our commitment is to use at least half of the polyethylene packaging containing up to 50% recycled material for the transport of products on pallets and containers

Commitments also include assessments conducted through certified life cycle analyses (LCA) to demonstrate the actual sustainability of the initiatives undertaken, as well as the awareness and active involvement of employees towards a conscious use of plastics in their daily lives.  

 

Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW)

Versalis is a member of the “Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW)”, a non-profit organisation that aims to invest 1.5 billion US dollars over five years to achieve specific solutions to the problem of plastic waste, and particularly pollution of the marine environment. The Alliance promotes projects and collaborations in four key areas:

  • infrastructure development to collect and manage waste and to increase recycling rates
  • support for innovation to propose and implement new technologies that facilitate the recycling and recovery of plastics, generating value from the plastics already used
  • training and involvement of governments, companies and communities to mobilise action by all stakeholders
  • cleaning the areas with the highest concentration of plastic waste already in the environment, with a special focus on the main dispersal channels, such as the rivers that transport it to the sea

 

Operation Clean Sweep

Versalis is involved in the implementation of a global volunteer programme, Operation Clean Sweep, which is promoted in Europe by Plastics Europe. The aim is to prevent and reduce the leakage of plastic pellets into the environment across the whole value chain to reach Zero Pellet Loss (ZPL).

The programme was created to overcome the problem identified as one of the sources of microplastic pollution in the seas and involves plastics manufacturers, processors and distributors, logistics and recycling companies.

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Versalis and Circular Economy Associations

Versalis actively participates in the main associations and working groups for the Circular Economy, both at a national and European level.