Mechanical Recycling

The diverse properties of plastic enable a plethora of products and applications that make daily life safer, more mobile, and more eco-efficient. These properties allow us to ensure more sustainable living, while the global population grows and demand for plastic increases. However, within the linear economic model, plastic products are made, used, and then discarded. Continuing with this model will lead to more plastic waste and environmental pollution, while putting pressure on the planet’s limited resources.

Borealis is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced and sustainable polyolefin solutions and a European front-runner in polyolefins recycling. OMV and Borealis are actively developing enhanced technologies to efficiently recycle two key plastic types, polyethylene () and polypropylene (), thereby providing an alternative to the linear “make-use-dispose” economy. Mechanical recycling is one such technology. With mechanical recycling, the plastic is cleaned, mechanically flaked, melted down, and processed into plastic granulate. In an ideal scenario, this material can be used to make the same products again, i.e., a detergent bottle becomes a new detergent bottle. No change is made to the chemical structure of the plastic, which is why the feedstock must be sorted properly and even split into different colors.

Borcycle™ M is Borealis’ transformational technology for mechanical recycling, which gives polyolefin-based post-consumer waste a new lease of life. Using advanced mechanically recycled products out of the Borcycle™ M portfolio ensures a lower carbon footprint compared to using fully fossil-fuel-based products. Through Borealis and its subsidiaries (mtm plastics, Ecoplast, and a demo plant operated by a joint enterprise in Lahnstein), OMV operates three mechanical recycling plants. The demo plant in Lahnstein is a joint undertaking by Borealis, Tomra, and Zimmerman, and was commissioned at the beginning of 2021.

Management and Due Diligence Processes


The Borealis recycling businesses are all certified according to the Europe-wide EuCertPlast certification program for companies that recycle post-consumer plastic waste.

2022 Actions

  • In 2022, Borealis started designing a commercial-scale advanced mechanical recycling plant in Schwechat, Austria. The design will be based on Borealis’ own Borcycle™ M technology, which transforms polyolefin-based post-consumer waste into high-performance polymers suitable for demanding applications.
  • Borealis began a partnership with Renasci in 2021, to work on the innovative Smart Chain Processing concept, including a plastic to pyrolysis oils process. The project successfully continued in 2022, with Borealis taking a minority share.


In the coming years, OMV will focus on the commercial ramping up of its existing circular portfolio to continuously progress toward its targets. For instance, Borealis’ advanced mechanical recycling plant in Schwechat will have the capacity to produce over 60 kta of advanced mechanically recycled polyolefin solutions and compounds per year. The decision was supported by positive feedback from the market on recycled polyolefins delivered by the demo plant in Lahnstein, which is based on the same technology. The front-end engineering design (FEED) stage will be carried out by NextChem, specialists in the field of green chemistry and technologies for the energy transition. Upon successful completion of the FEED phase, Borealis expects to take the final investment decision in the second half of 2023 and to start construction by the end of 2023. The first volumes of recycled polyolefin products are expected in 2025.