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Climate and Sustainable Finance - Is chemical recycling a game changer

23 April 2020 Mark Morgan, Ph.D. Kaushik Mitra

Chemical or feedstock recycling is being touted as a game changer that can transform recycling. With chemical recycling, innovative technologies - such as pyrolysis, gasification, chemical depolymerization, catalytic cracking and reforming, and hydrogenation - convert plastic waste into chemicals. These technologies produce feedstocks such as monomers, oligomers, and higher hydrocarbons that can in turn be used to make virgin polymers.

Considering the steep recycling targets introduced by European Union regulators and the inadequacy of mechanical recycling to meet those goals, it makes sense that chemical recycling could play a complementary role. However, chemical recycling operations have yet to reach industrial or commercial scale.

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