New study confirms role for chemical recycling in reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Brussels, 1 December 2020, The European Green Deal aims to establish a circular and sustainable economy in Europe. One key challenge is to make plastic truly circular. The European chemical industry is convinced that chemical recycling technologies can play an essential role to transform plastic waste in valuable secondary raw materials. These technologies have the potential to avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that can occur in both the feedstock production and from incineration of plastic waste. This positive environmental impact is confirmed by the new Quantis report “Chemical Recycling: Greenhouse gas emission reduction potential of an emerging waste management route”, which was commissioned by the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic).
The report used life cycle assessment (LCA) and systemic material flow analysis approaches to assess the environmental benefits of chemical recycling in a consistent and comparable way. These studies provide insights in the potential reduction of GHG emissions by using chemical recycling technologies compared to current end-of-life management such as incineration, and in how it can contribute to low industrial emissions from 2030–2050. It makes chemical recycling a more sustainable option for mixed plastic waste compared to incineration and landfilling.
Chemical recycling technologies offer complementary solutions to existing mechanical and dissolution recycling to treat mixed or contaminated plastic waste that otherwise would be incinerated or sent to landfill. Therefore, it helps to reduce the leakage of plastic waste into the environment, including the littering of our oceans. Plastic waste can be transformed and used as feedstock material for the chemical industry, thus it reduces the dependency from other fossil resources and the associated GHG emissions.
However, while chemical recycling has great potential, these technologies still require further upscaling. To be successful, chemical recycling must be supported by a holistic enabling policy framework, an open investment environment and a competitive economic model.
Download the full report below.