Chemical recycling - the answer to plastic waste?

8 May 2018 • 1 min reading time

Although the collection and recycling of plastic packaging waste has increased considerably in recent years, the market for recycled plastic is facing the inevitable challenges. The search is on for alternative techniques to improve plastic recycling. Watch the video below about the chemical recycling of plastic – one of the new techniques that could help smooth the transition to a circular economy.

Environmental pollution due to plastic is one of the greatest problems of our time. It would be better for the environment if we used less plastic or – where that is not an option – reuse more. But recycling plastic is easier said than done. Of all the plastic waste that is collected, only 34% is recycled. This is because plastic recycling currently involves mechanical processes, which are not suitable for all types of plastic.

“Of all the plastic waste that is collected, only 34% is recycled”

Recycling plastic chemically

Chemical recycling could play a key part in dealing with the current plastic waste problem. In chemical recycling processes, plastic waste is purified and chemically separated into new, pure chemical building blocks. These, in turn, can be used to manufacture new plastics. When it comes to processing more complex plastics, chemical recycling is the only option.

“After chemical recycling, we are left with new, pure chemical building blocks. These, in turn, can be used to manufacture new plastics”

Circular Netherlands

TNO has been intensively researching various forms of chemical recycling for many years now. “We want to set up joint ventures with the business community, to explore the options and thrash out the details. For its part, TNO can assist the business community by analysing a range of potential scenarios and by providing advice on suitable techniques and avenues. In this way, we can jointly contribute to a circular Netherlands”, emphasizes Rob de Ruiter, Circular Economy business developer.

More about the circular economy

Circular economy: TNO is working on a future without waste

This is how we will accelerate the transition to a circular plastics economy

TNO sets the course for the circular economy

Circular economy: how can we make raw materials from organic waste?

What is the impact of circular construction?

Get inspired by TNOTIME on the circular economy.

TNO & The Circular Economy

Would you like more details about how TNO is paving the way for the introduction of a circular economy?

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