Conversion: turning it into raw materials
‘Conversion’ is one of the ways to chemically recycle plastic waste. In this process, mixed plastic waste is broken down into oil- or gas-like feedstock (raw materials) that is then used to produce chemicals including plastics.
How does it work?
The conversion recycling process starts with mixed plastic waste being screened and prepared for further processing. The conversion process then uses heat and chemistry in a reactor to break down the plastic waste into either a liquid, oil like feedstock (pyrolysis) or gaseous feedstock (gasification). The process takes place in absence of oxygen (pyrolysis) or presence of oxygen (gasification) to ensure high-quality products. In a following step, potential contaminants are isolated and removed. The produced oil or gaseous feedstock (re)enters the chemical production chain at the refinery or cracker level as secondary raw material replacing newly extracted fossil feedstock. The resulting products are used to manufacture chemicals including plastics of similar quality than those made from traditional fossil resources.