November 26, 2020

Borealis makes progress towards “Goal Zero” thanks to upgraded state-of-the-art water treatment system in Schwechat, Austria

Borealis announces that the upgraded wastewater treatment system at its integrated production location in Schwechat, Austria, is now fully operational.

  • EUR 6 million investment in novel filtering system at production facilities in Schwechat, Austria, further minimises risk of plastics loss
  • Collaboration helps produce custom-built, multi-stage filtering system
  • Step-change filtering system uses best technology and is now fully operational

Borealis announces that the upgraded wastewater treatment system at its integrated production location in Schwechat, Austria, is now fully operational. Successful tests of the sophisticated new multi-step system, which was installed in November 2019, show that the facility is now even more effective than before in reducing the risk of unintentional plastics spillage or loss. Borealis invested around EUR 6 million in the custom-built filtration system, which is the result of extensive and productive collaboration with Austrian universities and technology providers.

New filtration system utilises best technology

As a responsible company, Borealis is committed to enhancing sustainability in its own operations and across the entire supply chain by striving to eliminate plastics loss altogether.
The new filtration system in Schwechat is the most recent example of concrete measures taken at an operational level to achieve “Zero Pellet Loss,” the umbrella term for Borealis and industry efforts to reduce spillage. Regular internal monitoring of wastewater flows ensures that emissions always remain within stringent regulatory parameters.

Borealis collaboration with the Technische Universität Wien (TU Wien) and Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) provided a way forward in the upgrade of the Schwechat treatment system. After determining at the start of the project that there were no off-the-shelf solutions that offered better performance than the existing equipment, Borealis engineers first worked closely with scientists from these universities to find novel ways to measure the presence of plastic matter in water before proceeding to design and construct its own new systems for removing such matter from wastewater.

The custom-built filtration infrastructure installed on the Schwechat grounds towards the end of 2019 includes two separate filtration systems for the multi-stage treatment of clean water. This novel system is able to filter a broad range of particle sizes of total suspended solids (TSS), from several millimetres to extremely fine – in the low micrometre range. The equipment is installed downstream from existing polymer separators and acts as an additional layer of protection. A study of the TU Wien confirms that the filtration system has enabled us to make a step change in the purity of our wastewater.

Borealis has and will further leverage learnings from the study as well as the development of this custom-built filtration system not only in all its production locations to further improve its operations, but also the whole value chain to foster the European “Zero Pellet Loss” and Operation Clean Sweep goals.

“The purification capabilities we had in place in Schwechat were already good, but the upgraded system boasts a level of sophistication that is leading in all of Europe’s plastics industry,” says Borealis CEO Alfred Stern. “Innovating for more sustainable living together with our partners in science and making substantial investments in such upgrades enhances our operational excellence. We intend to deliver on our commitment to reducing plastics loss in order to achieve our ‘Goal Zero’ of no losses whatsoever.”

Alongside operational measures, the Borealis “Zero Pellet Loss” effort encompasses a wide range of activities within the industry. Borealis was an early signatory to Operation Clean Sweep® (OCS), an international programme initiated by the Society of the Plastics Industry and the American Chemistry Council. In Europe, this programme is coordinated by PlasticsEurope, and in 2019, Borealis contributed to the drafting of stringent new requirements. In Austria, Borealis is also a signatory to the “Zero Pellet Loss” pact, which shares similar goals to the OCS programme.


For further information, please contact:

Virginia Mesicek
Senior Manager External Communications
tel.: +43 1 22 400 772


About Borealis
Borealis is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced and circular polyolefin solutions and a European market leader in base chemicals, fertilizers and the mechanical recycling of plastics. We leverage our polymers expertise and decades of experience to offer value adding, innovative and circular material solutions for key industries. In re-inventing for more sustainable living, we build on our commitment to safety, our people and excellence as we accelerate the transformation to a circular economy and expand our geographical footprint.

With head offices in Vienna, Austria, Borealis employs 6,900 employees and operates in over 120 countries. In 2019, Borealis generated EUR 8.1 billion in sales revenue and a net profit of EUR 872 million. OMV, the Austria-based international oil and gas company, owns 75% of Borealis, while the remaining 25% is owned by a holding company of the Abu-Dhabi based Mubadala. We supply services and products to customers around the globe through Borealis and two important joint ventures: Borouge (with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, or ADNOC, based in UAE); and Baystar™ (with Total, based in the US).

About Borealis in Schwechat, Austria:
At its production location in Schwechat, Austria, Borealis produces polyolefins, plastic raw materials that can be melted and then molded within a certain temperature range. Borealis produces around one million tonnes of polyolefins per year at its Schwechat location, making the site one of the most modern and important plastics production locations in Europe. A total of around 500 employees are employed here in production, health, safety and environment, maintenance, purchasing, finance and controlling, quality control, logistics, IT and HR.

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