Posted on 02/12/2019 in Recycling 2019
NGO questions “chemical recycling” of plastics

The environmental NGO Zero Waste Europe has published a position paper on “chemical recycling” of plastics. The NGO’s position is that chemical recycling does have “a role to play in closing the material loop and moving … up the waste hierarchy”, but that policy priorities should be firstly to reduce and reuse, and secondly to mechanical recycling. The paper identifies three types of chemical recycling: solvent-based purification and depolymerisation, both of which only work with “mono-streams” (plastics separated by polymer type) and thermal depolymerisation / cracking processes. The NGOs suggests that policy makers need to fix a clear definition of “chemical recycling” which limits to operations which generate new plastics and which have a lower carbon footprint than virgin plastics, and that chemical recycling should be used only for degraded and contaminated plastics (not separated streams which can be mechanically recycled)

“El Dorado of Chemical Recycling. State of play and policy challenges”, Zero Waste Europe, August 2019, 27 pages

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