The City of Houston, ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell FCC Environmental Services and Cyclyx International, a commodity management consortium founded by Agilyx and ExxonMobil, have signed a memorandum of understanding to form the Houston Recycling Collaboration. The collaborators intend to increase Houston’s plastics recycling rate and establish Houston as a leader in mechanical and advanced recycling.
The collaboration unites two of the world’s largest chemical companies, ExxonMobil and LyondellBasell, who both say they plan to increase their recycling capacity; FCC, a leading environmental services company with extensive experience in Houston; developer of circular systems Cyclyx; and the fourth largest municipality in the United States.
According to a press release issued by Cyclyx, the Houston Recycling Collaboration will focus on expanding access to recycling programs for the community and local businesses, improving community education and awareness, and the possibility of recycling plastics that are difficult to recycle by conventional means.
The partners say their proposed approach will be the first of its kind in the United States and will help deliver scalable, community-driven solutions to accelerate plastic recycling.
Inigo Sanz, CEO of Houston-based FCC Environmental Services, says recycle today that ExxonMobil approached the company a few months ago regarding the collaboration. FCC processes residential recyclables at its Houston MRF that have been collected by the city. FCC also collects from business customers and multi-family residences in the area.
Sanz says the Houston Recycling Collaboration’s goal is to increase the percentage of plastics that can be recycled and reduce the volume of those materials that go to landfill. “It’s great to partner with companies that have solutions for plastics that are harder to recycle or harder to find an end market for,” he says.
FCC’s role in the collaboration will be tied to sourcing and preparing raw materials, Sanz said. The company will also work with its partners on educational campaigns.
“We’re very excited about this opportunity,” says Sanz, especially because it’s in the city where FCC’s headquarters are located. “It makes it more interesting for us because we see the potential of the partnership.”
Cyclyx, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, will combine recovered plastics with ongoing mechanical and chemical recycling efforts at ExxonMobil and LyondellBasell.
In September 2021, LyondellBasell, with North American headquarters in Houston, announced that it had achieved International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) PLUS certification for certain grades of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) produced in four of its its manufacturing sites in the United States. The ISCC PLUS certification is a system to ensure the traceability of recycled and renewable materials throughout the supply chain.
In October 2021, ExxonMobil, Irving, Texas, announced plans to build its first large-scale advanced post-use plastic recycling facility in Baytown, Texas. The company says it plans to begin operations of the facility by the end of 2022.
Cyclyx International previously announced that it is developing a plastic recovery facility to process post-use plastics for a committed levy associated with advanced recycling projects on the Gulf Coast which includes ExxonMobil’s Baytown site.
Joe Vaillancourt, CEO of Cyclyx, said, “We look forward to working with this team and contributing some of our programs and tools to the Houston Recycling Collaboration. We believe this program will present a new approach to increasing plastic recycling rates that could be used as a model across North America. This collaborative effort across industries is unique, and I believe it will drive change.
Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics and the American Chemistry Council, Washington, released a statement supporting the collaboration.
“Today, the City of Houston and four business partners came together to find solutions that will bring Houston’s recycling system into the modern era,” he said. “Congratulations to the Houston Recycling Collaboration for laying the groundwork to dramatically improve recycling rates and sustainability in a major US city and creating a plan for how to do it for other cities.
“Any modern recycling system must use all the tools in the toolbox to be successful. This includes using advanced recycling technologies that can recycle many more types of plastics than traditional recycling methods to make virgin-grade plastics for the most specific applications, such as medicine, food contact, and specialty products. consumer safety. Additionally, this collaboration will increase access to recycling programs for the local community and businesses and improve recycling education and awareness for Houston residents,” he adds.