BP building plastic recycling pilot plant in Illinois

The British energy major BP said Thursday it will build a new pilot plant for recycling plastics at its refining complex in Illinois.

The $25 million pilot plant, which is expected to be completed next year, would test BP's new "Infinia" technology to transform currently un-recyclable plastics into new plastic feedstock.

The technology specifically would recycle polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, plastic waste from plastic bottles, packaging and containers. BP plans to use the pilot plant to better test the technology before rolling it out commercially worldwide.

The rising global glut of plastic waste threatens the future of the petrochemical sector and now companies like BP and Houston's LyondellBasell are building recycling plants to help address the problems.

"We see our Infinia technology as a game-changer for the recycling of PET plastics," said Tufan Erginbilgic, BP's downstream chief executive. "It is an important stepping stone in enabling a stronger circular economy in the polyester industry and helping to reduce unmanaged plastic waste."

PET is the most commonly used plastic to make more rigid beverage and food packaging. About 27 million metric tons of PET are produced each year with about 85 percent of the materials used to make plastic bottles.