Environment NGO recognises potential of chemical plastics recycling but considers more LCA and energy data is needed. A report by Eunomia for the environmental NGO CHEMTrust assesses solvent purification, chemical depolymerisation and thermal depolymerisation (cracking / pyrolysis), concluding that chemical depolymerisations appear to have most promise (e.g. for PET, polyester), but should not replace mechanical recycling where clean, homogenous material can be collected. The report however considers that to date inadequate information is available on chemical recycling processes: environmental and energy performance, losses in recycling, extent to which sorted and clean input streams are needed, by-product / waste streams. The report recognises that the lack of information is because the technologies are mainly at the development or pilot scale, and companies wish to keep process information confidential for commercial reasons.
“Chemical Recyling: State of Play”, report for CHEM Trust, S. Hann, T. Connock, 8th December 2020 https://chemtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/Chemical-Recycling-Eunomia.pdf