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Braskem challenge seeks solutions to remove odor from recycled resins

The project received over 150 submissions s from all five continents with ideas for the production of a high-quality and odorless post-consumer resin; German researchers presented the best project and received US$30,000

Braskem, the Americas' largest thermoplastic resin producer and the world's leading biopolymer producer, launched last year a partnership with Innocentive, a global platform that leverages innovative research, with the goal of eliminating unpleasant odors from post-consumer recycled plastic resins. The project received 154 submissions from around the world, with 25 solutions selected for the second phase and eight finalists selected for testing. Two German researchers presented the best option and received USD30,000 for their technological development.

The challenge's proposition is aligned with Braskem's commitment to drive the Circular Economy that it announced in November 2018, in which the company outlined eight initiatives in the plastics chain to advance the industry and society, the third of which includes: "Developing or supporting the development of new technologies, business models and systems for collecting, picking, recycling and recovering materials, considering the best balance of economic, social and environmental impacts."

In 2018, the petrochemical producer organized the challenge to support the development of the post-consumer plastics recycling chain. Tests were carried out by Braskem and external laboratories of the eight solutions submitted by the researchers. The results of the tests pointed to one solution: a process that reduces unpleasant odors from plastic waste without reducing its polyolefin properties, effectively expanding the range of the material's potential applications.

 "The partnership with Innocentive is a success. We managed to meet an internal and external demand by creating an opportunity for researchers from around the globe to collaborate with plastics recycling, which enabled us to identify a new technology that, developed in partnership with Braskem, could have a positive impact on the market for post-consumer recycled plastics. We are fully committed to researching and developing more sustainable solutions for the plastics chain," explained Fabiana Quiroga, director of Recycling.