Circular Economy

The core elements of a circular economy include reusing resources, avoiding waste and optimizing product features with respect to the entire product life cycle. BASF’s Circular Economy Program focuses on three action areas: increasing the use of recycled and renewable feedstocks, innovative material cycles and new business models for the circular economy, including digital and service-based models.

The circular economy model has gained importance in politics, industry and society in recent years. It describes the transition from a linear “take-make-dispose” model to a system of closed loops. We want to actively drive this transition forward and make our value chains, processes, products and business models more circular. By 2030, we want to double our sales of solutions for the circular economy to €17 billion. Sales of circular solutions include products based on renewable or recycled raw materials, that close new material cycles or increase products’ resource efficiency or service life. In addition, we aim to process 250,000 metric tons of recycled and waste-based raw materials in our production plants annually from 2025, replacing fossil raw materials.

Circular economy (Photo)

Core elements of the circular economy at BASF

We are driving forward the use of recycled raw materials with projects such as ChemCycling™, in which we use the pyrolysis oil extracted by our technology partners from mixed plastic waste or used tires to produce new products. The project is currently in the scale-up phase. We already have many years’ experience in the industrial recycling of mobile emissions catalysts, where we recover precious metals and use them to produce new mobile and process emissions catalysts. We are working on other innovative material cycles in over 20 initiatives. These include our chemical recycling process for used polyurethane foam mattresses and the development of plastic additives to improve the quality of mechanically recycled plastics. In addition to these projects, we established a Group-wide co-funding program for circular economy projects. It supports our employees in developing new business models for the circular economy – from the initial idea to market launch. The program aims to create additional products and solutions that close loops, establish new loops or extend the life of a product.

Core elements of the circular economy at BASF
Core elements of the circular economy at BASF (pie chart)

Using plastics responsibly

Our circular feedstock target is part of our commitment to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative. This explores the design, use and reuse of plastics in the transition toward a circular economy. BASF has been a member of the nonprofit organization since 2017 and is working on various cooperative projects together with other members. In 2020, we were in continual contact with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on topics such as our target on the use of recycled raw materials or the mass balance approach. We support the responsible use of plastics and are a co-founder and active member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) to help effectively reduce plastic pollution around the world.