As India races ahead to ban single-use plastic, for the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), a petrochemical major, the solution lies in designing materials, with recyclability in mind. Sabic is 70% owned by Saudi Aramco with the remaining 30% publicly traded on the Saudi stock exchange.
"We recognise the challenge with single use plastics, it's why we were founding members of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. But at the end of the day, we have to get much better at developing the whole value chain around managing plastics and dealing with the end of life issue," said Bob Maughon, executive vice-president, sustainability, technology & innovation and chief technology and sustainability officer at Sabic.
Maughon added that Covid, though was a horrible challenge for everyone, also did point to a reminder that single-use plastic materials do bring value. "They bring value in garments, in PPE (personal protective equipment) and in protecting our food. But that also creates a challenge, which would actually lead to an increase in plastic waste. We have to deal with the end of life of those issues."
Sabic is a founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a non-profit organization consisting of 27 global companies to advance solutions to help reduce mismanaged plastic waste in the environment.
The Alliance works with companies across the plastics and consumer goods value chains including plastics and consumer goods producers, retailers, converters and waste management companies. "I think we have to take a step back and look at how do we design materials, with recyclability in mind. And it is a clear focus," added Maughon. Sabic's India Technology Centre in Bengaluru is key to supporting its research and forcus in areas which include advanced recycling.