-----Interview with Andy Postlethwaite, Senior Vice President, Performance Materials Asia Pacific of BASF
At CHINAPLAS 2023, BASF presented its market-leading products and sustainable solutions for all phases of the plastics journey: Make, Use, and Recycle. It will continue to innovate and contribute to the ultimate goal of a circular economy together with the customers and partners. Andy Postlethwaite, Senior Vice President, Performance Materials Asia Pacific of BASF, accepted an interview with China Chemical Reporter (CCR) and introduced BASF's various innovations in renewable material recycling solutions.
Andy Postlethwaite, Senior Vice President, Performance Materials Asia Pacific of BASF
CCR: How BASF showcases leading products and sustainable development solutions through the entire lifecycle of plastics?
Andy: At the MAKE phase, BASF improves how plastics are made – from product design to the choice of raw materials, including renewable or recycled feedstock and the manufacturing process. In addition, BASF’s Product Carbon Footprints (PCFs) can improve CO2 transparency in the value chain and validate its customers’ claims for creating low-carbon plastics.
In the USE phase, solutions to improve energy efficiency through BASF’s lightweight and durable materials are available. The company’s advanced material solutions also enable more sustainable applications in infrastructures for eMobility and renewable energy.
In the final RECYCLE phase, BASF highlights its efforts to accelerate a circular economy through mechanical recycling, ChemCycling™, and other technologies to close the loop.
CCR: With the increase in market demand, the demand for renewable materials in industry is also increasing. What new measures does BASF have in terms of recycling?
Andy: With regard to BASF's goal in the field of plastic recycling, we have a quality balance solution. Through mechanical recovery and chemical recovery, such as entering the cracking furnace, the final product will no longer need to consume new fossil materials to achieve its recovery.
In terms of recycling, we offer various solutions, including pure mechanical recycling, chemical recycling, biological mass balance, and some small amounts of biodegradable solutions. However, it is up to the customer to decide which solution to use in the end. For example, for high-end shoe brands, in order to better promote themselves in the market, they may hope to have some solutions based on biology, and we can provide them with these renewable materials for production. The automotive industry should focus more on carbon footprint, and using recycled materials without using more new fossil materials can greatly reduce its carbon footprint.
CCR: What are the current challenges encountered in the recycling process？
Andy: This is a very complex process, where different types of waste ultimately produce the same high-quality final product, requiring different recycling processes. Therefore, it is highly likely that these processes and processes need to be combined to produce products that meet customer satisfaction for different types of recycled materials.
Most customers are just starting to use recycled materials because they need to do a lot of work, such as sorting and collecting raw materials. This process is still in its infancy for the customer industry, but the future development is definitely very good.
So in this process, as more new materials and technologies emerge, we will make further adjustments according to the needs of customers in the future. In short, recycling is a very complex topic, but we are willing to use multiple solutions and perspectives to provide a good result tailored to customer needs.
CCR: Which recycling path do you think is more feasible and efficient？ Why?
Andy: We believe that chemical recovery is a better ideal path of recycling for the future. It has several major benefits: there is no need for more investment, no need to update or change existing process flows, and no need for customers to test whether these materials are feasible, because the materials at the molecular level remain unchanged, which is the process of waste returning upstream to become raw materials. The route is different, and chemical recovery is achieved through some forms of chemical cracking, which can meet the needs of customers, so we think it is an ideal recycling path for the future.
At CHINAPLAS 2023, we are pleased to demonstrate our commitment to our plastics journey and how BASF’s solutions help our customers decarbonize their value chains. We will continue to innovate and contribute to the ultimate goal of a circular economy together with our customers and partners.