Mastering the art of value-added recycling

A key contribution we make to the Circular Economy is through the chemical recycling of PMMA, polymethyl methacrylate, our flagship product.

This thermoplastic can be broken down into its precursor methyl methacrylate (recycled MMA, rMMA) by moderate heating without the need for catalysts. After a purification step, it can be used to produce new PMMA for applications, for instance in the automotive industry, with no trade-offs compared to its established fossil version. “We are very proud of the recycling process we have demonstrated at Röhm, because we are able to reach virgin quality for this material, meaning that the purity after the recycling process lies at more than 99.8%,” stresses Lukas Dössel, Director Circular Economy. “This major success was achieved at the end of 2023 and is the result of the unwavering dedication of our R&D and plant operations teams, who have extensively investigated novel approaches to increase the purity.”

The Product Carbon Footprint of Röhm’s rMMA could thus be reduced by more than 80%. And at the same time, the virgin-quality rMMA fea- tures identical properties of today’s fossil-based products, allowing a convenient “drop-in” solution for our customers with up to 100% of certified recycled content when applying a mass-balance methodology. “In all our efforts to contribute to a circular economy, it is important to never lose sight of the practicability for our customers. It is therefore a priority, that the sustainable products can be used without requiring process or equipment changes,” points out Lukas Dössel.

Both major production sites ISCC‑PLUS certified

Our two largest sites in Germany, Worms and Wesseling, were successfully audited in 2023.

That’s also why the company has opted for the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) scheme ISCC-PLUS. It’s not only the most widely accepted and trusted certification system in the chemical industry. It is also based on a mass balance approach, which is a prerequisite for being able to offer our customers the tried and tested products they need and require, despite the high recycled contents.

Our two largest sites in Germany, Worms and Wesseling were successfully audited in 2023 by third-party auditor DQS CFS GmbH. In addition, we have launched various MERACRYL® proTerra methacrylate monomers and PLEXIGLAS® PMMA polymers that contain at least 25% of certified sustainable raw materials from recycled or renewable sources. This certification also requires us to source raw materials for these products from equally ISCC-PLUS certified suppliers, for example ammonia, methanol and acetone. We are convinced that this is a key pillar to decarbonization and seek strategic collaborations with particularly sustainable and innovative suppliers such as OCI Nitrogen BV in the Netherlands. OCI Nitrogen produces such materials from bio-circular feedstock like manure or organic municipal household waste. “That way, we make sure that we do not compete with the essential feed and food industry,” points out Lukas Dössel.

“We are able to reach virgin quality for polymethyl methacrylate, meaning that the purity after the recycling process lies at more than 99.8%.”

Lukas Dössel
Director Circular Economy