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Oji Fibre Solutions teams up on Plastic Recycling Technology

Pulp, paper and packaging business, Oji Fibre Solutions (OjiFS) has signed a memorandum of understanding with iQ Renew and Licella to investigate a promising plastics recycling technology for New Zealand.

OjiFS is the country’s leading recycler. Its Fullcircle recycling service collects more than 300,000 tonnes/annum of recovered paper from throughout New Zealand, and 200,000 tonnes, about a third of the country’s waste paper, is recycled into paper and packaging products at the company’s Penrose and Kinleith mills. The company also collects plastic waste at recovery facilities it operates on behalf of local authorities and when separated from the paper at the OjiFS recycling mills.

Plastics recycling has become a challenge for many western countries in the wake of China’s National Sword initiative with large scale disruption in international recycling trade and infrastructure.

OjiFS CEO Dr Jon Ryder said “recent policies in China and South East Asia have restricted waste imports and require Oji Fibre Solutions to investigate alternative on-shore treatment options as landfilling is not acceptable to our business”.

The agreement provides for the use of iQ Renew’s chemical recycling technology, called Cat-HTR™, developed over 12 years by iQ Renew’s commercial partner Licella. Chemical recycling uses water at high temperature and pressure to transform plastics back to the chemicals from which they were made. It provides for the recycling of mixed plastics, including those not able to be recycled using traditional methods.

The Cat-HTR™ technology is proven at large pilot scale and is now ready for commercial roll-out. Licella CEO Dr Len Humphreys explains “Licella has a number of projects in different countries, including our joint venture with Armstrong Capital, Mura Technologies, which will build the world’s first commercial Cat-HTR™ plant in the United Kingdom in 2021. This plant will process 20,000 tonne/annum of waste plastics, otherwise destined for landfill, into high value chemicals, waxes and fuels.”

It is possible a similar operation could be quickly established in New Zealand, depending on government plans for investment in recycling infrastructure.

“This could be a big opportunity for OjiFS and we are keen to speak to the Government about how to help meet the emerging challenges for recycling in New Zealand” said Dr Ryder.

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