HDPE pellet

Nova Chemicals, Merlin Plastics partner to expand PCR supply

Nova Chemicals is providing financing for a multimillion-dollar project to accelerate Merlin’s expansion into PCR for food-contact applications.

September 2, 2020

Nova Chemicals Corp., a producer of chemicals and plastic resins in Calgary, Alberta, has announced a long-term agreement with Merlin Plastics Supply Inc., a large plastics recycler in Vancouver, British Columbia, to increase the supply of high-quality postconsumer recyclables (PCR) for consumer packaging. According to a news release from Nova Chemicals, this marks the company’s first entry to the PCR market.

“Plastic has great value and is essential to modern life. Nova Chemicals is committed to finding new ways to capture its value beyond its first use to drive a plastics circular economy,” says Luis Sierra, president and CEO of Nova Chemicals. “This partnership with Merlin and our forthcoming suite of PCR-containing resins will help meet our customer and brand owner needs and expand high-quality PCR supply for use in consumer packaging.”

Nova Chemicals reports that many of the world’s leading consumer brands have pledged to increase the amount of PCR content in plastic packaging to an average of 25 percent by 2025. To meet the global demand for PCR, Nova Chemicals and Merlin Plastics are partnering to repurpose postconsumer recyclables. According to Nova Chemicals, the partnership will turn high-density polyethylene (HDPE) into resin for use in everyday products and packaging, including food applications.

“We are excited to combine our three decades of recycling experience with Nova Chemicals’ industry knowledge and technical expertise to expand the supply of high-value polyethylene PCR in the marketplace,” says Tony Moucachen, president of Merlin Plastics. “With this agreement, we will be able to turn more recycled plastic packaging into valuable new source material for consumer products and packaging.”

Nova Chemicals is providing financing for a multimillion-dollar project to accelerate Merlin’s expansion into PCR for food-contact applications and, in turn, will secure a supply to offer to its customers. Nova Chemicals reports that this partnership is one of several collaborations it is pursuing to build its PCR offerings with commercial quantities beginning in 2021. Nova Chemicals says it plans to offer 100 percent PCR polyethylene and PCR blended with its virgin grades, including high-quality linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and HDPE.

“We expect demand for PCR to increase tenfold in the next five years based on brand owner sustainability commitments,” says Greg DeKunder, vice president, marketing, Nova Chemicals. “We are excited to continue successfully working with our customers on application development as we enter the PCR market.”

Merlin Plastics has two facilities in British Columbia. It operates a state-of-the-art container sortation plant in Gifford and a processing plant in Delta that turns plastic containers into pellets. Nova Chemicals’ funding will expand the equipment in the Delta facility and enhance Merlin’s processing capabilities, the companies say.

Nova Chemicals reports that it is “committed to enabling 100 percent of plastics packaging is recyclable or recoverable by 2030 and 100 percent of plastics packaging is reused, recycled or recovered by 2040.” Nova Chemicals also has a ready-to-recycle resin portfolio and research-and-development expertise to offer solutions for companies looking to incorporate PCR into their products.