Medicines, detergents, textiles and plastics. Just a few of the thousands of finished products in which petrochemicals are a key ingredient – and which an increasing number of people around the world enjoy and need.
Shell produces base chemicals (ethylene, propylene, and aromatics), which are the raw materials for these finished products.
Plastics provide important health, safety and sustainability benefits. They help to improve living standards, hygiene and nutrition around the world.
They are used widely in healthcare, construction, transport, electronics, agriculture and sport. Plastics are often associated with disposable and throwaway packaging.
But many products have different and long-term uses, as pipes, window frames, sports equipment and roofing, for example.
Most use fewer resources and have a lower-carbon footprint than the glass, paper and metal they have replaced.
For instance, efficient plastic insulation and lightweight plastic parts in cars and planes save energy and avoid CO2 emissions.
And plastics are integral in the construction of renewable energy, such as wind turbines and solar panels.
A waste issue
Shell is concerned about the global plastic waste issue. In some places, waste management infrastructure and traditional recycling don’t exist, or plastic waste is not managed appropriately. As a result, plastic waste can end up as litter.
Plastics don’t belong in our oceans, rivers or landscapes. They belong in our homes, hospitals, schools and businesses, delivering benefits to hundreds of millions of people around the world every day.
All of society – industry, governments and consumers need to work together to solve this.
We want to play an active role in finding lasting solutions to this challenge.
We are a leading member of the new Alliance To End Plastic Waste.
This is an alliance of global companies including chemicals and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies and waste management companies, along with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
It has committed $1.5 billion over the next five years to end plastic waste in the environment.
Using plastic waste as a chemical feedstock
Shell is also exploring process technologies that could transform post-use plastic into useful liquids that could be used as a source of energy, as chemicals or as new products.
Shell is using a liquid feedstock made from plastic waste in its chemical plant in Norco, Louisiana, USA to make a range of chemicals.
The liquid, supplied by Nexus Fuels, is made from hard-to-recycle plastic waste via a specialised heating technique called pyrolysis.
Our ambition is to use one million tonnes of plastic waste a year in our global chemicals plants by 2025.
We will work with multiple companies who collect and transform plastic waste in order to scale this solution to industrial and profitable quantities across our chemicals plants in Asia, Europe and North America.
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