Basic raw materials for the chemical industry are obtained from crude oil. Through complex refinery processes, we can produce substances from these raw materials that are crucial to our daily lives, including plastic. The process comes full circle when these refined substances are recycled back into raw materials, which are then processed in the refinery again.
In the beginning there is crude oil which, through various processing steps, turns into gasoline, kerosene, liquid gas and naphtha, all of which are long hydrocarbon chains. These raw materials can be utilized for an infinite variety of applications. If these are "cracked" into short hydrocarbon chains under high pressure and high heat, you get ethylene, propylene, butadiene or benzene, which are raw materials that can be used to produce plastics, medicines, synthetic fibers for clothing and shoes, car tires, gas and water pipes and much more. Without these chemical substances, we would not get very far in everyday life. In fact, we will not get far at all if we do not recycle them at the end of their life cycle.
We will continue to depend on plastics also in the future. The key is to recycle these plastics when they reach the end of their life. Plastic waste becomes a valuable raw material once more and the cycle can start again.
Maximilian Grasserbauer, Plastics-to-Plastics, OMV Aktiengesellschaft
Our video explains exactly how the process from crude oil to plastic works: