ExxonMobil will build its first large-scale advanced recycling facility in Baytown, Texas, according to The Dallas Morning News (subscription).
“First step”: The plant, which is set to have an initial annual recycling capacity of 30,000 metric tons, is part of the company’s plan to build approximately 500,000 metric tons of worldwide recycling capacity in the next five years. The facility is slated to begin operations by the end of 2022.
- “A smaller, temporary facility is already working in Baytown, producing materials that can be used to make plastic and other products, Exxon said. The trial has recycled more than 1,000 metric tons of waste to date, equivalent to 200 million grocery bags.”
The wider context: The project marks an important move toward the creation of a worldwide “circular plastics economy.” And by 2050, global plastics are poised to grow by between 170 million and 190 million metric tons, according to research firm IHS Markit.
Future moves: Exxon is working with U.K.-based company Plastic Energy on an advanced-recycling plant in France, while also scoping out sites on the U.S. Gulf Coast and in Canada, the Netherlands and Singapore.
The NAM’s take: “These global investments will be a game-changer in the fight to end marine litter and plastic waste in the environment,” said NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Rachel Jones. “Managing waste properly is essential for building sustainable, livable communities and remains a challenge for many developing countries, but deploying advanced recycling technologies is the other foundational element of addressing this global challenge. We have to do both at once. Manufacturers have always been leaders in innovating solutions and making them a reality for everyday people, and it’s exciting to see companies like ExxonMobil making such major investments in doing just that.”