In addition to reducing the amount of landfilled waste, the circular economy and materials recycling have another important effect from the point of view of economic growth: they improve production efficiency.
In a world where demand and competition for resources are already steadily growing, leading to resource depletion and soaring commodity prices, there are economic and environmental benefits to be gained from more efficient resource management.
As the environmental and climate awareness of the public is rising, it is easier to implement products based on technologies that reduce the environmental footprint, such as new low-carbon products and technologies with a lower overall environmental impact.
The initiatives planned as part of the circular economy programme also have a significant decarbonisation potential since plastics recycling, both mechanical and chemical, is a way to save significant amounts of energy and raw materials used in the manufacturing process.
Circular economy aspects have been implemented in some of PKN ORLEN’s processes. The flue gas desulfurisation unit operated in Płock not only helps reduce emissions but also delivers high quality synthetic gypsum, which has been recognised as a product in its own right. Production of gypsum helps protect its natural resources. In 2021, the gypsum output was 110,000 tonnes.
ORLEN Południe is Poland’s only company that operates a specialist hydrogenation line, enabling safe regeneration of waste oils into base oils used to make lubricating oils. The process is a model example of a circular economy solution. In 2021, 47,000 tons of oils and lubricants were recovered using the waste oil regeneration unit. Moreover, waste in the form of used edible oils and fats is recovered at ORLEN Południe in the process of ester and glycerine production. In 2021, a total of 15,500 tonnes of used cooking oils were processed into high-quality methyl esters (biodiesel) and distilled glycerine.