🇫🇮 The Finnish Climate Fund: €4.2 million to Wastewise for the reuse of hard-to-recycle plastics

July 5, 2023

Press release from The Finnish Climate Fund

The Climate Fund has decided on a €4.2 million capital loan to Finnish Wastewise Group Oy for the company’s facility investment programme, which will provide a major increase to the reuse of hard-to-recycle plastics. The company completes the plastics-recycling value chain by expanding its chemical recycling plant capacity for challenging mixed plastic. The plants will produce new raw materials for the plastics industry from plastic waste that used to be incinerated.

The amount of plastic waste generated worldwide has doubled over the past 20 years and only a tenth of plastic waste is recycled appropriately. There are hundreds of different plastic types and not all can be recycled with the same methods. Most recycled plastic waste is processed mechanically, but the mechanical process is not suitable for a range of mixed plastics which could be channelled into a chemical recycling process instead of being incinerated with mixed waste.

Wastewise has spent the last few years in long-term development of a proprietary pyrolysis technology and business concept in the rapidly developing plastics recycling sector. Our investments have borne fruit and our plant in Nokia is the first plastics recycling facility in Finland to use pyrolysis in industrial-scale production. Our proprietary chemical recycling technology also enables the use of recycled plastic raw material in challenging applications, such as in food-grade plastic or medical applications. This is because our chemically recycled plastic raw material is identical to virgin raw materials in its features and is not degraded in the recycling process like mechanically processed plastic raw materials”, says Managing Director Kaisa Suvilampi of Wastewise Group.

The technology developed by Wastewise is suitable for hard-to-recycle plastics, and the pyrolysis oil generated by the process can replace crude oil in plastic and other chemical production, and thus decrease the use of virgin materials. As an example of this, previously non-recyclable cross-linked polyethylene pipes (PEX) were produced for the first time using chemically recycled PEX waste as raw material, thanks to the pyrolysis technology of Wastewise. Wastewise’s partners in the project include Neste as a pyrolysis oil refiner, Borealis as a recycled plastic manufacturer, and Uponor as a PEX pipe manufacturer.

The challenges involving plastic waste have received a great deal of publicity in recent years, and Finland too needs to increase its plastic recycling rate even further. The solution to the plastic challenge lies in various actions, and in addition to emissions reductions, circular economy impact is emphasised in the impact criteria guiding the Climate Fund’s funding. Wastewise is a Finnish pioneer in chemical recycling, and we are thrilled to be able to accelerate their investment programme for expanding their business”, says Toni Mikkonen, Climate Fund’s Director, Investments.

Wastewise’s solution:

Wastewise Group was born in 2022 from the merger of Suomen Kiertoketju Oy and Wastewise Oy and has developed a proprietary technology for the chemical recycling of plastics and rubber. The company has an operational chemical plastic-recycling plant in Nokia, which is being expanded at the same time as building new recycling facilities in Finland.

Wastewise’s pyrolysis oil has been granted the international ISCC Plus sustainability certificate and is refined by the company’s partner Neste, mainly into raw materials for new plastic polymers.

The emissions reduction amounts to roughly 1.9 t CO2-eq per tonne of plastic fed into the recycling process. The annual emissions reduction generated by a single pyrolysis plant is estimated at 20 t CO2-eq and the estimated ten-year cumulative emissions reduction potential of the expansion at 0.4 Mt CO2-eq. In addition to the greenhouse gases generated by the plastic industry, too much plastic waste still ends up in nature and water systems globally, causing major environmental problems in addition to its climate impact.

The total amount of the facility investment program is approximately €12 million. The financing of the investment consists of a €4.2 million capital loan from The Climate Fund, and equity financing from Taaleri Sijoitus Oy, a group of domestic individuals and family-owned investment companies. Furthermore, an investment aid of €0.85 million has been granted for the expansion of the Nokia facility.

The Climate Fund’s €4.2 million capital loan will be used for the construction of new recycling lines, bolstering the circular economy for hard-to-recycle plastics. The interest on the Climate Fund’s capital loan is priced at the market rate and the capital loan also includes a conversion right.

More information:

Saara Mattero, Director, Communications and Sustainability, tel. +358 400 114 777, [email protected]

Kaisa Suvilampi, CEO, Wastewise Group Oy, tel. +358 50 525 4222, [email protected]

The Finnish Climate Fund is a Finnish state-owned special-assignment company. Its operations focus on combating climate change, boosting low-carbon industry and promoting digitalisation. The Climate Fund invests in large-scale projects in which the fund’s investment is crucial to enable the project’s realisation in the first place, on a larger scale or earlier than it would with funding from elsewhere.

Wastewise Group Oy is a privately owned circular economy company, which offers a new, innovative recycling solution for challenging waste streams in the plastic industry. In other words, we are helping the plastic industry transition from a fossil economy to a circular economy! The heart of Wastewise’s business is its production facility using the company’s proprietary pyrolysis technology. This facility is complemented by a mechanical pre-treatment plant owned by Group subsidiary Wastewise Oy. The company’s production facilities are located in the Eco Industrial Park (https://eco3.fi/en/) in Nokia.

Originally published on 4 July.