Loop Industries, Terrebonne, Quebec, and Paris-based environmental services company Suez say they plan to build the first Infinite Loop recycling facility in Europe. The partnership will combine Suez’s resource management capabilities with Loop’s technology to depolymerize end-of-life plastics to produce what it says is virgin-quality, food-grade plastic.
The partners say final site selection and engineering are targeted to be completed by mid-2021 and commissioning of the facility is currently projected in 2023.
The partners say the Infinite Loop facility will respond to growing demand in Europe from global beverage and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies that have committed to aggressive targets for a high level of recycled content in their products and packaging. This new facility will be dedicated to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic and will have the potential to produce the equivalent of approximately 4.2 billion food-grade beverage bottles at a savings of 180,000 tons of CO2 annually compared with virgin PET production from a traditional petrochemical process. These savings are equivalent to approximately 418,000 barrels of oil, according to Loop.
“Suez has been involved for more than 10 years in mechanical plastic recycling while investing constantly in research and innovation,” Jean-Marc Boursier, Suez Group COO, says. “In 2019, we processed 450,000 tons of plastics across Europe and produced 150,000 tons of recycled plastics. Highly convinced by the complementarity between mechanical and chemical recycling solutions, we are thrilled to be part of this innovative project with Loop Industries as it will expand our offer and our solutions, improving the economic and environmental performance of our industrial customers but also contributing to a sustainable resource management.”
Loop founder and CEO Daniel Solomita adds, “Expansion of our technology across Europe has always been of high strategic importance for Loop and our customers. We are beyond excited to be working with the excellent team at Suez, who bring a complementary skill-set to Loop’s team with their deep knowledge in resource management.”
He continues, “Europe is leading the charge against petroleum-based plastics: Through tougher regulations and taxes, they are setting a global example on transitioning to a more circular economy. The Infinite Loop technology creates the infrastructure countries need to be able to eliminate plastic waste and increase recycling rates. Loop’s expansion is tailored to our customers’ needs, allowing them to meet and exceed their ambitious targets for recycled content in their packaging but also to have the ability to recycle their packaging infinitely, without having to compromise quality.”
Loop says Europe consumes approximately 5.5 million tons of PET annually, less than 7 percent of which makes its way back into bottles. However, European governments are imposing new regulations on single-use plastics and set minimum recycled content laws for packaging.