We produce chemicals that are the raw materials for plastics. Products made from plastics bring important benefits to society, helping to improve living standards, hygiene and nutrition around the world.

But society also needs to tackle the amount of plastic waste in the oceans and the environment. Shell wants to play an active role in finding lasting solutions to this challenge.

Creating a circular economy

We produce chemicals using a liquid feedstock made from plastic waste. A technique called pyrolysis turns hard-to-recycle plastic waste into a liquid, which we then process into chemicals that are used to make new plastics.

A tanker truck delivering liquid fuel made from plastic waste at the Shell Norco Manufacturing Complex, USA. (photo)

The Shell Norco Manufacturing Complex in the USA uses liquid feedstock made from plastic waste to make chemicals.

In 2020, Shell signed a supply agreement with Nexus Fuels LLC for pyrolysis liquid, to increase production of chemicals from plastic waste at our Norco facility in Louisiana, USA. The agreement is an important step towards achieving our ambition to use 1 million tonnes of plastic waste a year in our chemical plants globally by 2025. It follows a full year of testing and application at the Norco facility.

Tackling plastic waste

We are a founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to invest $1.5 billion over five years to help end plastic waste in the environment. The alliance comprises almost 60 global companies, including chemical and plastics manufacturers, consumer goods and waste management companies, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

In 2020, the alliance published its first progress report setting out projects it supports, including community projects in Africa, India and South-east Asia that aim to prevent waste plastic from entering nature, rivers and the sea. The report also outlines technology projects that aim to unlock economic value from post-consumer waste. The alliance contributes funds to projects as well as the expertise of its members, for example, engineers, safety professionals and scientists.

Reducing, reusing and recycling

We are exploring ways to reduce, reuse and recycle packaging across our supply chains and introduce sustainable packaging solutions. These include large recyclable plastic liner bags for bag-in-box lubricant packaging, which reduce plastic use by more than 80% and carbon dioxide (CO2)-equivalent emissions by more than 60%, compared with traditional single-use plastic bottles.

We are also manufacturing lubricant bottles in Brazil using resin from sugar cane rather than traditional oil. This approach lowers the net  emissions of the bottles by up to 83% compared with our previous bottles.

Watch the film on transforming plastic waste into chemicals at

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