Solving the plastic challenge is a journey we’re all on together. At BASF, we’ve already taken some huge steps forward.
Solving the plastic challenge is a journey we’re all on together. At BASF, we’ve already taken some huge steps forward.
Plastics are an integral part of modern life. They’re in the mattresses we sleep on and many of the chairs we sit on. We wear them in sports apparel. We use them in our digital devices. They help insulate our houses from the cold. And they have thousands of medical uses that help save lives every single day. But plastics come with big challenges. They are mainly derived from oil, a limited natural resource. Far too many of them still end up in landfills and there’s the challenge of plastic waste in the environment.
The ultimate goal is a circular economy – one in which resources are protected, plastic waste is minimized and the benefits of plastics are recognized. To get there, innovation will be crucial – new ways of thinking, new ways of doing. So join us to discover how we are innovating with our partner organizations to improve how plastics are made, used and recycled in ways that bring us ever closer to that goal of circularity.
Dealing with plastics at the end of their life is not simple. Different recycling solutions already exist, but they still need to be developed further to meet the challenges of a wide variety of plastic types and applications. Join us in a candid conversation on plastics to discuss live on Linkedin how we intend to give plastic waste a new life. Session 1: Insights into Innovations in Mechanical Recycling
October 7, 2021 10:30 a.m. CEST / 4:30 p.m. CST
October 7, 2021 4:30 p.m. CEST / 10:30 a.m. EDT
Read more on the event page
How plastics are made really matters – from product design to the choice of raw materials to the manufacturing process itself.

We’re helping companies to think more about the entire ‘life cycle’ of a product – not just how it’s disposed of. We’re developing high-quality, high-performance plastics and additives that extend the life of products. From 2025, we will be using 250,000 metric tons of recycled and waste-based raw materials in our production plants, replacing fossil resources and making manufacturing more efficient. And we are aiming for CO₂ neutral production of our products, including plastics, by 2050.
How plastics are made really matters – from product design to the choice of raw materials to the manufacturing process itself.

We’re helping companies to think more about the entire ‘life cycle’ of a product – not just how it’s disposed of. We’re developing high-quality, high-performance plastics and additives that extend the life of products. From 2025, we will be using 250,000 metric tons of recycled and waste-based raw materials in our production plants, replacing fossil resources and making manufacturing more efficient. And we are aiming for CO₂ neutral production of our products, including plastics, by 2050.
Changing how we use and reuse plastics can mean using them less. But it can also mean using them better.

Plastics have become one of the most discussed concerns in the world today. And the global community is being more thoughtful than ever before about how and why plastics are used. What remains to be done is to find new ways to manage the challenges around the use and reuse of plastics, without ignoring their benefits for climate protection and for society. It’s about considering what we really need and changing our habits accordingly.
Changing how we use and reuse plastics can mean using them less. But it can also mean using them better.

Plastics have become one of the most discussed concerns in the world today. And the global community is being more thoughtful than ever before about how and why plastics are used. What remains to be done is to find new ways to manage the challenges around the use and reuse of plastics, without ignoring their benefits for climate protection and for society. It’s about considering what we really need and changing our habits accordingly.
The big issue around plastics is what happens to them at ‘end of life’

Plastics definitely have a place, but it shouldn’t be in our natural environment. That’s where many of our innovations come in. While we can’t recycle all plastics yet, some can be re-used in the making of new plastics. We’re innovating to make plastic sorting plants more effective, so more plastics can be recycled. Plastic clean-up initiatives are now happening worldwide. And a game-changer technology is compostable plastics.
The big issue around plastics is what happens to them at ‘end of life’

Plastics definitely have a place, but it shouldn’t be in our natural environment. That’s where many of our innovations come in. While we can’t recycle all plastics yet, some can be re-used in the making of new plastics. We’re innovating to make plastic sorting plants more effective, so more plastics can be recycled. Plastic clean-up initiatives are now happening worldwide. And a game-changer technology is compostable plastics.
Insulation boards for buildings are traditionally made using fossil fuels – but there’s an alternative.

Neopor® Biomass Balance (BMB) is insulation made in a way that preserves our planet’s resources.

That’s because instead of using fossil fuels to create its raw materials, we use renewables like bio-gas or bio-naphtha from unused organic waste.

Independently certified, Neopor® BMB is low-carbon, recyclable and so effective at insulating that it saves at least 80% on the CO₂ emissions that would otherwise be generated by heating systems.

In fact, if 100 houses used Neopor® BMB, the CO₂ reduction achieved after only six years would be equivalent to the CO₂ absorbed by a forest the size of a soccer pitch!
What if there was a plastic packaging that could be rinsed down your sink, leaving no waste whatsoever? That’s exactly what Lactips is – a plastic made from a milk protein that’s fully water-soluble and biodegradable. It can be used in food packaging, home detergents and the ‘agri’ sector. Every time Lactips is used, it’s one more instance where plastic waste doesn’t end up in the oceans.  If you can design a car to be lighter, it will use less fuel.

That’s especially important if the car is to run on gasoline or diesel, because less fuel means fewer emissions.

Take the Toyota Sienna. Its third-row seat used to be made of 15 different steel parts.

Now Toyota uses Ultramid® – a high-performance polyamide with long glass-fiber reinforcement.

That means the seats in the Toyota car are now 30% lighter.

Ultramid® also gives Toyota a 15% cost saving compared to the steel version of the seat.
Product packaging is often made from plastics that end up in landfill, so we’re working hard to help companies find alternative approaches.

We’re also developing entirely new, recyclable packaging materials.

Take Stanley Black & Decker, the tools and hardware manufacturer.

The company has pledged to make its packaging 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. It’s an admirable goal and BASF is helping to get there.

Stanley Black & Decker is just one of the companies we’re partnering with to help them reach their sustainability goals.
Given the sheer number of Covid-19 vaccine doses being shipped, keeping emissions low is crucial.

That’s one of the reasons Styropor® Biomass Balance (BMB) expandable polystyrene packaging has been selected. Unlike conventional packaging materials, Styropor® BMB is made from renewable resources instead of fossil raw materials.

Styropor® keeps the vaccines thermally insulated at specific temperatures between -20C and -70C along the distribution journey, and then on to the vaccination centres at temperatures of +2C to +8C.

Its excellent shock-absorbing properties also keep the vaccines physically protected.

Together with our partners, we’re delivering what the world needs with a reduced carbon footprint, and in the safest way possible.
The Aerothan® inner tube is a remarkable innovation that’s set to take cycling by storm.

BASF worked with engineers from specialist bike tire brand Schwalbe to design a high-end inner tube that is 100% recyclable – unlike conventional rubber tubes.

The tube can be completely recycled because it’s made entirely from BASF’s Elastollan®, a specially developed thermoplastic polyurethane for maximum performance. 

Aerothan® tubes have other powerful properties too, making them ideal for road cyclists, mountain bikers or all-purpose riders.

Despite being 40% lighter than comparable lightweight rubber tubes, they offer superb puncture protection.

They remain stable even at low air pressures – making them less susceptible to ‘blow out’ type punctures. (Great to know when you’re on the descent.)

Finally, they offer minimal rolling resistance. In other words, Aerothan® makes you go faster!
Solving the plastic challenge can mean making plastics that last longer.

Take food growers who use plastic films in greenhouses and polytunnels.

When Tinuvin® NOR® is used in these films, it extends their life. It’s a plastic additive that helps reduce plastic waste by increasing durability.

The additive (which is certified for use in organic farming) protects agricultural films from intense sunlight and heat.

It’s also a light stabilizer, so plants are exposed not just to light, but to the right kind of light.

Tinuvin NOR also helps to maintain uniform temperatures and humidity, and it creates the right conditions for pollinating insects.

All in all, Tinuvin NOR’s powerful performance reduces plastic waste and produces better quality food all year.
The idea of compostable plastics might once have felt like science fiction. Now, thanks to the likes of BASF’s ecovio®, it’s science fact.

ecovio is certified compostable, but it can do the job of a conventional plastic.

For example, ecovio can be used in take-away food containers for hot or oily food.

When coated with ecovio, paper bowls and cups can withstand temperatures of up to 100°C.

It has even risen to the challenge of steaming hot Chinese food!

Ele.me, AliBaba’s online food delivery platform, trialled ecovio successfully on cardboard food and drinks containers at the Taobao Maker Festival in Hangzhou, China.
To recycle effectively, you need to be able to sort accurately.

But sorting through many kinds of plastics for conventional recycling can be time-consuming, cumbersome and sometimes even impossible.

This where trinamiX comes in.

Thanks to trinamiX, plastics can be distinguished on the spot and within seconds, with one tap on a portable device.

The trinamiX Mobile Near-Infrared (NIR) Spectroscopy Solution uses intelligent data analysis combined with a cloud-connected solution to display the results on a user’s smartphone.

It’s reliable, it’s fast and it’s easy to use.

But it doesn’t end there. With trinamiX’s solution, plastics processing companies can determine during a product’s design phase whether a certain plastic type can be easily sorted (and thus recycled) at the end of a product’s life, enabling recyclability to be ‘built in’ to the design.

So trinamiX is contributing to improved sustainability throughout the entire plastic life cycle, not just at the end.
Some plastics can’t be recycled in the traditional, ‘mechanical’ way. But we weren’t prepared to accept that they would all have to end up in incineration or landfill.

So we started a project to find new ways to recycle such plastics. It’s called ChemCycling. Working together with partners, plastic waste is chemically recycled, turning it back into what it was made from: oil. Known as pyrolysis oil, this then becomes a ‘feedstock’ that is combined with other raw materials to produce new plastics.

ChemCycling is breaking new ground in the recycling of plastic waste. It produces products with the same properties as those made from fossil fuels, so it preserves the earth’s fossil resources.

It provides a new recycling method alongside mechanical recycling. And it enables plastic waste destined for incineration or landfill to be recycled.
In Lagos, Nigeria, most of the plastic waste ends up on the streets or in the ocean. In the “Waste to Chemicals” project, BASF Nigeria works together with local social entrepreneurs who collect the plastic waste which is then chemically recycled into pyrolysis oil.
These days, many used tyres are incinerated, even though they are a valuable resource. So shouldn’t we find other uses for them instead of discarding them?

With the help of chemical recycling, old tyres can be turned into high-quality raw materials for the manufacturing of new clothing fabrics.

Scrap tyres are processed to produce pyrolysis oil. This is used alongside fossil resources in the production of Ultramid® Ccycled, cutting its CO₂ footprint in half compared to conventionally produced polyamides.

The apparel company, VAUDE, is using Ultramid Ccycled as the basis for outdoor pants, set to appear in stores in 2022.
Plastic waste is a huge global concern. But no single organisation can address it alone.

That’s why BASF co-founded the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) in January 2019.

AEPW brings 55 different companies together. They cover every aspect of plastics – from raw materials to manufacturing, from retail to waste management.

The members have committed to investing $1.5 billion before 2023 to help minimize and manage plastic waste, and keep it out of our environment.

AEPW focuses on four areas. One is infrastructure – how we collect and manage waste. Another is innovation - finding new ways to minimize waste and recycle or recover ‘end of life’ plastics.

The third focus of the AEPW is education – mobilizing action from governments, businesses and others. And the fourth is cleaning up areas where plastic waste is concentrated.