Sumi and Wastewise Group are kicking off cooperation around the chemical recycling of packaging plastics. The chemical recycling will improve the recycling rate of plastic packaging because the process enables the recycling of packaging types that are unsuitable for mechanical recycling.
Producer responsibility organisation for packaging Sumi Oy and Wastewise Group Oy have agreed on long-term cooperation. From the beginning of October, this will involve Sumi delivering material streams that are generated in the sorting of plastic packaging and that cannot be mechanically recycled to Wastewise’s pyrolysis plant in Nokia for recycling.
The process entails preprocessing and liquifying the packaging plastic. The end result is pyrolysis oil, which is used to manufacture new raw materials for plastic production. The process is an innovative chemical recycling solution that can handle types of plastic packaging that are generally unsuitable for mechanical recycling.
“This cooperation means that Finnish packaging plastic will now be chemically recycled on an industrial scale for the very first time, using entirely Finnish process,” says Managing Director of Sumi Mika Surakka.
“The Wastewise solution is particularly well suited to the feasible utilisation of plastic materials that are difficult to recycle. This is a big and important step for us and will also create new jobs and operations in Finland.”
Wastewise has persistently developed its own pyrolysis technology and leveraged new innovations to improve the process to suit the processing of plastic packaging waste. Based on a calculation commissioned from an external party, the emission reduction for each tonne of plastic fed into the process is roughly 1.9 CO2e/tonne.
Wastewise’s plastic pyrolysis process has received the international ISCC Plus sustainability certificate.
The ISCC (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) certificate enables the verification of chemically recycled raw material shares throughout the entire value chain of plastic production.
Close cooperation to promote the circular economy
In addition to the delivery agreement, the companies have also agreed on wider cooperation to develop the recycling of plastic packaging in Finland. As part of the cooperation, Sumi’s Mika Surakka was invited to join Wastewise Group’s board of directors.
“Surakka provides our board with strong expertise in plastic recycling and practical experience that benefits planning the day-to-day and future of our business operations,” says Chairman of the Board for Wastewise Group Kari Ruokonen.
“The investments in our own pyrolysis technology have been successful, and we are now in a position to pioneer the rapid development of chemical plastic recycling,” says Managing Director of Wastewise Kaisa Suvilampi. “Chemically recycled plastic raw material is comparable to virgin material, which is why it also suits demanding applications, such as reutilisation by packaging manufacturers.”
Wastewise’s other partners include Neste, which is responsible for refining pyrolysis oil for use as a raw material in the plastics industry. Neste has been processing pyrolysis oil at its refinery since 2020 and recently decided to invest in a unit that will enable increasing the processing capacity for pyrolysis oil to 150,000 tonnes a year. The investment is a part of the PULSE project, through which Neste aims to expand the utilisation of plastics that are unsuitable for mechanical recycling.
Earlier on, Wastewise has successfully produced high-quality plastic piping from chemically recycled raw material in cooperation with Neste, Borealis and Uponor.
Increasing the recycling rate and reusing packaging materials sensibly are important shared goals in the efforts to reduce society’s carbon footprint and save natural resources.
“Sumi strongly supports the domestic collection and recycling chain,” Mika Surakka says. “Responsible operations involve considering the environmental footprint of the recycling process through its entire life cycle.
“Regulation is tightening constantly for good reasons. From the beginning of next year, the packaging producer responsibility in Finland will also apply to smaller companies with a turnover under one million euros. Our role as an organisation that coordinates the collection and recycling responsibility of packaging producers is to make it easy and cost efficient to participate in circular economy efforts.”
Mika Surakka, Managing Director, Sumi Oy – Board Member, Wastewise Group Oy
Tel. +358 400 197 848
Kaisa Suvilampi, Managing Director, Wastewise Group Oy
Tel. +358 50 525 4222
Wastewise Group Oy is a privately-owned circular economy company with Taaleri Kiertotalous Ky and Taaleri Sijoitus Oy as its main owners. It provides a new innovative recycling solution for the challenging waste streams of the plastics industry. In other words, we help the industry transition from a fossil-based economy to the circular economy! The company’s operations are centred around the production plant that utilises its proprietary pyrolysis technology and is supplemented by mechanical preprocessing plant of the subsidiary Wastewise Oy. The company’s production facilities are located in Nokia in the Eco Industrial Park (https://eco3.fi/).