In this podcast interview, Ethical Corporation editor Terry Slavin asks Dow Chemical’s Lorraine Francourt about what her company is doing to try to turn the tide on the scourge of plastic waste

As one of the world’s biggest producers of polyethylene, the raw material that goes into the plastic packaging, Dow Chemical is at the eye of the growing media storm over the environmental damage caused by the escalating plastic waste epidemic.

Lorraine Francourt, director of chemicals management and circular economy for the Michigan based multinational, was one of the speakers at Responsible Business Europe, and at a circular economy workshop on the eve at the conference.

In a podcast interview with Ethical Corporation’s editor, Terry Slavin, Francourt sets out what her company is doing to try to set the entire industry on a more circular path.

She speaks about how years of R&D to add functionality to packaging by making it thinner and lighter inadvertently contributed to the plastic waste problem by making them harder to recycle. Now Dow is having a design rethink, with pilot scale projects to test out polymers that can be more easily recycled, and the integration of recycled content in new plastics.

She talks about Dow’s participation in the Alliance to End Plastics Waste, launched earlier this year by nearly 30 companies across the plastics value chain to bring solutions to plastic waste to scale, and how Dow has for the first time appointed two senior commercial directors with a focus on recycling.

She also alludes to an announcement, made last week, of an agreement with Dutch recycling firm Fuenix Ecogy, which has a technology to convert plastic waste into feedstock for new plastics through pyrolysis. The feedstock will be used to produce new polymers at Dow’s production facilities at Terneuzen, The Netherlands, and contribute to Dow’s commitment to incorporate at least 100,000 tonnes of recycled plastics in product offerings sold in the European Union by 2025.

Finally, Francourt explains why bio-based polymers are not the answer to the waste crisis.

Main picture by Peryn22/Shutterstock
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