Recycling the unrecyclable
The transition to a circular economy seeks to replace today’s linear “take-make-dispose” approach to resources. This implies a more resource efficient approach, where resources are “kept in the loop” for as long as possible by recycling or reusing them. This presents a challenge for many manufacturing industries, including the packaging industry. While it may be easy to recycle cardboard or paper, recycling packaging made up of mixed materials is a more difficult – but not impossible – task.
One of the innovative solutions developed by the chemical industry to help recycle multi-layer packaging is the use of particular polymers or processes that make recycling easier. For example, a technology developed by DuPont makes it possible to recycle used agrochemical bottles, a typically difficult product to recycle.
This technology can dramatically decrease the amount of used bottles going to landfill, by giving a second life to the multi-layer materials which constitute them.
The technology has already been widely deployed in Brazil where 150,000 tons of used agrochemical bottles have been recycled – equivalent to 374,000 barrels of crude oil or over 160,000 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions.
Associated SDG targets
The European Green Deal is at the heart of the EU’s ambitions of becoming climate neutral. Europe intends to be a world leader in the circular economy and clean technologies. Chemical recycling of end-of-life plastics can fill a key gap in the recycling loop and change the way we approach plastics recycling. Chemical recycling breaks down the plastic into feedstocks and monomers so new chemicals and plastics can be made that are equivalent to those made from fossil resources.
Chemical Recycling: Making Plastics Circular
Welcome to the industry ‘Virtual Exhibition on Chemical Recycling.
Discover how chemical recycling technologies make plastics circular, explore Cefic’s members’ concrete examples.