Traditional mechanical recycling processes are designed to handle rigid plastic containers, which are primary water bottles (#1 – PET ) and milk jugs and laundry detergent bottles (#2 – High Density Polyethylene). The used plastic is collected, pre-sorted by plastic type, then ground into smaller pieces, washed, dried and melted to form a plastic pellet. That recycled pellet is combined with virgin fossil-based plastic pellets to produce plastics parts, such as drainage pipes, lumber, bottles and textiles.
However, many of today’s plastic packaging forms and materials are not able to be recycled through traditional mechanical recycling processes and often end in landfills. These hard-to-recycle plastics are films and flexible packaging, small parts like straws and bottlecaps, and lightweight materials like foams and protective packaging materials.
Advanced recycling complements traditional mechanical recycling and has the ability to restore those hard-to-recycle materials to productive use by converting the plastic into its molecular building blocks which can then be used to create new plastics.
In a circular economy, materials are kept in use – either as a product, as the components of a product or as raw materials – so that intrinsic value of products and materials are retained with minimal waste.
There are a broad range of complementary Reduce, Reuse and Recycle strategies that are currently being implemented to develop a circular economy for plastics. These strategies value plastic as a resource that can be used again and again and are helping to build the recycling ecosystem to keep plastic out of landfills and prevent leakage into our environment.
Advanced recycling is an innovative technology that can address a broad range of hard-to-recycle plastics that are not able to be recycled through traditional mechanical recycling processes and are often landfilled.
Advanced recycling processes can enable many plastics that were once destined for landfill to be converted into new products that can be used to remake plastics, again and again, and that creates a circular loop.
Four of the seven types of plastic can be recycled by pyrolysis: High Density Polyethylene (#2), Low Density Polyethylene (#4), Polypropylene (#5) and Polystyrene (#6).
Some examples include films and flexible packaging (stretch wrap, grocery bags, food storage bags, air pillows and bubble wrap), used motor oil bottles, hospital plastics, small parts like straws and bottlecaps, and lightweight materials like foams and protective packaging materials.
While these materials are considered hard-to-recycle by traditional mechanical recycling processes, they can be converted through pyrolysis-based advanced recycling into their molecular building block which can then be used to create new virgin-quality plastics, retuning the plastic molecule to productive use.
Nexus’ customers are global companies who participate in the production of plastic resin for packaging and other industrial applications – companies such as Braskem, Chevron Phillips Chemical, LyondellBasell and Shell Polymers.
Nexus converts plastics that would normally be landfilled – hard-to-cycle materials like films and flexible packaging, small parts like straws and bottle caps, or lightweight materials like foams – into a liquid product that is shipped in trucks or rail cars to our customers who then use the liquid as a raw material to produce new virgin-quality plastics.
By using Nexus’ product, companies that produce plastics can reduce their dependence on fossil-based products which support their sustainability commitments and accelerates the transition to the circular economy.
Nexus works with sustainability-minded companies and recycling organizations across the plastics supply chain to secure used plastics that would otherwise be thrown away and put into a landfill, reducing the potential of leakage of these plastics into the environment. Our supply partnerships also enable companies to meet their waste reduction and zero-waste-to-landfill goals which represent a win-win-win for Nexus, our supply partners and the environment.
As we expand our manufacturing footprint and increase our capacity to handle more hard-to-recycle plastics, we create a positive ripple effect which incentivizes and increases the collection of those materials which ensures that less plastic is landfilled and reduces the accumulation of plastics in our environment. And that is the mission of Nexus Circular to develop new pathways to accelerate plastic recycling so that the environment can thrive.
Nexus is partnering with like-minded world-leading companies who are investing in new technology and innovative solutions to build a sustainable world. Cox Enterprises is an ideal partner who is deeply committed to sustainability and the development of cleantech businesses and circular solutions. The strong alignment between Cox’s environmental values and Nexus’ business established the foundation for our relationship.
Cox made an initial strategic investment in Nexus in 2015 to support the construction of the commercial facility in Fulton County, Georgia and recently invested an additional $150 million to facilitate the next stage of growth which includes the construction of a new facility.
In 2007, Jeff Gold, who is Nexus’ Founder and Chief Technology Officer, read an article about a company that had converted single-use-plastic bags back into their original molecular building blocks – an oil-like product – through an established process called pyrolysis. He was instantly intrigued by the idea that plastics could be depolymerized into their original molecular building blocks which could then be rebuilt into new plastics. Jeff immediately realized the potential positive impact that this type of transformational technology could have to address the accumulation of plastic in our environment.
An entrepreneur at heart and armed with curiosity and a background in practical chemistry, Jeff founded Nexus in 2008 using a bench scale process to further develop the pyrolysis conversion technology. In 2011, Nexus moved to its current facility in Fulton County, expanding the pyrolysis process from a bench scale to a pilot production line. After 10 years of iterative development and validation of the pyrolysis technology and process, Nexus commissioned its commercial production line in 2018 and has been producing and selling commercial volumes of its liquid product for the last 5 years. The Fulton County facility is Nexus’ Headquarters as well as its Technology and Innovation Center.
Jodie brings over 30 years of manufacturing leadership experience, having built and led 5 companies as CEO/President and 3 of those companies with an ESG focus.
Prior to joining Nexus Circular, Jodie served as the CEO of GreenMantra Technologies, a privately-held early- stage advanced recycler of waste plastics to specialty waxes. Previously, she was President of Pinova, a PE-backed manufacturer of specialty chemicals from renewable resources.
Currently she serves on the board of Bartek Ingredients and Nexus Circular and has previously served on the board of NanoXplore (TSX), Pinova Holdings, and Getec Industrial S/A
Jodie earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware and holds an MBA in Finance from West Chester University of Pennsylvania.