Pioneering the world’s first high-performance coatings containing phthalic anhydride made from plastic waste

Berlin/Germany, July 26, 2023 – Beckers Group, a global purpose-led, innovation-based coatings
company, is collaborating with suppliers to incorporate raw materials, made from recycled plastic, into
its paints. The ability to turn waste plastic into new raw materials will promote circularity and reduce

Making circular chemistry possible
Beckers is working in collaboration with BioBTX and the research institute Symeres to create a supply
chain for sustainable aromatic monomers made from plastic waste. BioBTX has developed a method
for turning waste plastic into BTX (benzene, toluene and xylene) which Symeres then take and oxidise
the xylenes into aromatic phthalic monomers which Beckers can use to create resins.

Phthalic anhydride is very important for polyester resin production as it is the most commonly used
aromatic acid and makes up 40-50 percent of the resins in which it is present. The phthalic anhydride
produced by this route can be used as a drop in for existing phthalic anhydride produced from

The pilot involves processing mixed plastic waste into sustainable chemical building blocks and finally
high-value products, using multiple advanced sustainable chemical conversions. This includes the
unique Integrated Cascading Catalytic Pyrolysis (ICCP) technology to convert mixed waste plastics and
biomass into aromatics such as benzene, toluene and xylenes. Beckers is particularly interested in
xylenes, which can be oxidised to produce monomers, such as phthalic anhydride, to be used in
polyester resins for coatings.

A world-first circular resin
“Nobody has ever created a coil coating containing phthalic anhydride made from plastic waste, so this
world first is an important step forward in terms of producing more sustainable resins and paints,” says
Julien Marquiant, Resin Lab Manager at Beckers. “It really is a game changer for us and our ability to
incorporate high-quality materials made from plastic waste.”

Ton Vries, Managing Director at BioBTX: “In order to reach a fully circular economy, we will need to
make use of all different types of carbon resources to substitute for all the fossil resources used
nowadays. The collaboration with Beckers proves that circular solutions can already be realised if
parties from different industries join forces. In this case it does not only prevent the plastic waste from
growing, it also simultaneously substitutes the need for fossil-based resources.”

The pilot is still being developed but can have significant sustainability benefits. Besides upcycling
thousands of tonnes of waste plastic into high-value products, early estimates suggest that the process
has the potential to reduce a white coating carbon emissions by at least 10 percent using such recycled
material compared with virgin raw materials. Beckers will validate the quality and suitability of the
phthalic anhydride produced by Symeres using the BioBTX xylene. Symeres is actively looking for a
potential partner to develop and license this technology over the next 3-5 years.

The full press release can be accessed here.