Indorama Ventures, a chemicals company based in Bangkok, has announced plans to invest about $1 billion in recycling as consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of single-use plastic and regulators push for more recycling. The company produces a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin and has operations throughout the world, including in the United States, Europe, Mexico and Brazil.
Yashovardhan Lohia, chief recycling officer at Indorama Ventures, says the company is looking to invest in recycling on a global scale.
“We are currently looking for opportunities to invest globally, whether that means building greenfield recycling plants, building brownfield expansions at existing recycling plants or acquiring recycling plants where available,” Lohia says.
He adds that some of these investments will likely use mechanical recycling to produce 100 percent recycled PET (rPET). Additionally, some efforts will look at the single pellet solution, which is about 25 percent rPET flakes blended with virgin PET. He says the company is also investing in the future through chemical recycling which is the depolymerization of postconsumer PET and polyester fibers into monomers and fed as raw material into a PET plant to make a very pure rPET.
Indorama Ventures is also trying to invest in education efforts with schools and universities to show students how to distinguish plastics and other waste. “We are investing in education to create awareness programs,” Lohia says. “The target is to inculcate in children from a young age the need to separate waste and ensure it is recycled.”
He says the company has a project in Thailand to install waste bins in educational institutes as well as the offices of its corporate partners and customers that are concerned about the need for recycling.
Additionally, the company is cooperating with government agencies and the private sector to ensure that PET bottles are picked up and sent to a recycling plant. “As our recycling plants already make a lot of fiber from postconsumer PET bottles, we created a global brand called Deja to promote that rPET yarns are a practical solution to recycling waste,” Lohia adds.
He continues, “As everyone is aware, ‘plastic waste’ has become a term that is being used more extensively than ever before; consumers are becoming more conscious of the impact plastics are making on the world. As a company, Indorama Ventures has been trying to educate consumers about the fact that there are many different plastics and that PET differentiates itself as the most recycled and the most recyclable of all plastics. We are seeing countries regulating to control the issue, for instance requiring certain collection and recycling rates. Following China’s rejection of imported waste, Western countries realized they now have to manage their waste themselves and that exporting waste was becoming no longer viable.”
Lohia says fast-moving consumer goods brand owners are also setting recycled content targets, and he says Indorama Ventures wants to support those targets as a supplier to those companies.