The joint project will use UKRI’s £3.1m grant to develop an advanced chemical recycling using the expertise of three companies in their respective business areas


Neste, Unilever and Recycling Technologies will work together to develop advanced chemical recycling technology. (Credit: Waste plastic to Plaxx, Recycling Technologies)

Neste, Unilever and Recycling Technologies have announced a collaboration to test and validate systems for chemical recycling of waste plastics.

The companies will focus on the development and advancement of chemical recycling to recover and reuse plastic packaging, which is presently either incinerated, buried in a landfill or exported from the UK.

The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has granted £3.1m for the joint project to develop chemical recycling using the expertise of three companies in their corresponding business areas to make hard-to-recycle plastic packaging recyclable.

As part of the three-year project, Recycling Technologies will process plastic packaging using its recycling machinery to turn into Plaxx oil.

Later, Neste will take the material to analyse and study its quality and suitability to further upgrade it into quality drop-in feedstock to manufacture virgin-quality plastics such as plastic packaging.

Unilever will support Recycling Technologies and Neste by providing insight on design for recycling of packaging.

Neste has expertise in handling low-quality waste and residue raw materials such as renewable waste and residue oils and fats, as well as processing them into quality plastics.

Neste to develop scalable solutions to advance plastics recycling

Neste is also focusing on the development of scalable solutions to advance plastics recycling with various partners and intends to launch liquefied plastic waste as a refinery raw material to replace fossil oil use in the production of feedstock for new plastics.

The collaboration with both firms will help Neste develop an advanced chemical recycling technology.

Neste renewable polymers and chemicals executive vice president Mercedes Alonso said: “We are excited to have Unilever join the project that builds upon Neste’s ongoing collaboration with Recycling Technologies. UKRI funding for this ground-breaking joint project helps speed up the development of chemical recycling.

“It enables us, project partners, to generate new data on how design for recycling could best be geared towards increasing recycling rates of those types of packaging waste that to this day have not been recyclable.”

In June this year, Neste and rigid plastic packaging manufacturer Jokey have teamed up to further develop the market for sustainable rigid packaging for food and non-food applications.

Recycling Technologies is a specialist plastic recycling technology provider, while Neste is a provider of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, and Unilever is a consumer goods manufacturer of global brands.