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What are circular plastics?

The world is buzzing about circular economy. And rightly so. Simultaneously, we are bombarded with news about plastic waste and the environmental harm they cause to the wildlife as well as to us humans.

Circular plastics combine these two topic areas. First, they are a solution to reducing or eventually even preventing plastic waste from entering the environment by providing a value chain in which plastic waste is utilized as a raw material instead of viewed as material that one primarily wants to get rid of. 

In other words, circular plastics refer to the circular life cycle of plastics providing a more sustainable alternative to the traditional linear life cycle where end-of-life plastics are either incinerated or piled into landfills.

Circular life cycles where material is recycled and reused

In addition to referring to circular life cycles, circular plastics refer to the plastic material itself, the material output of a circular value chain of plastics. This material is derived from recycled plastic waste to keep the carbon in plastics circulating over and over again, reducing the need to tap into virgin fossil oil reserves. This is not only smart from the climate perspective but also a sustainable, resource efficient way to utilize the planet’s limited natural resources. 

Currently, most of society’s plastics are produced from crude oil. Neste and its partners have produced also renewable or bio-based plastics from Neste’s renewable hydrocarbons derived from waste and residue raw materials. No matter whether fossil or renewable plastics, however, it is crucial that the life cycles of these valuable materials are circular – that they are reused and recycled as efficiently as possible. 

Our target at Neste is to become the preferred partner as a provider of sustainable renewable and circular plastics solutions for forerunner brands.