Chemical recycling hasn’t proven to be working on a large industrial scale yet; and nobody knows if it will. Air Liquide, France, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, The Netherlands, Enerkem, Canada, and the Port of Rotterdam are initially investing a total of nine million euros. Mechanical recycling has proven to work operationally but not economically. First, we reduce the amount of plastic waste, and secondly, we improve our resource efficiency, as using plastic waste as a feedstock reduces our dependence on the non-renewable resources such as oil when making new chemicals. Mechanical recycling represents more than 99, 9% of the infrastructure and business. Mechanical Recycling . Complementary: While large volumes of sorted single-stream plastics can and should be recycled mechanically, chemical recycling can process, for example, mixed plastic waste streams for which it may be impossible or very inefficient to sort them for a high-value mechanical recycling. In chemical recycling processes, plastic waste is purified and chemically separated into new, pure chemical building blocks. The composite, which is supplied as a clean stream, is shredded down to 20 mm pieces. It mechanically crushes the plastic and remelts it into granulate. The current interest is not only in recovering energy or in mechanical recycling but also in the production of valuable products such as … Carbios, a green chemistry company focused on plastics recycling, is targeting polyethylene terephthalate (PET)—a resin it believes offers huge market potential. Mechanical recycling of plastics refers to the processing of plastics waste into secondary raw material or products without significantly changing the chemical structure of the material. Durch den ausschließlichen Fokus auf hochmoderne Technologien für mechanisches Recycling geraten die Vorteile von Polyamiden für leistungsstarke und flexible Lebensmittelverpackungen etwas in den Hintergrund. The machine can sort up to one tonne of flakes per hour. Shell has also been among the investors since March 2019. The science journalist Brigitte Osterath questions why the development of chemical recycling is supported with millions whereas hardly any investment is being made in the more environmentally friendly mechanical recycling. In a circular approach we try to valorise waste. Therefore, detailed and labour-intensive sorting is required before the recycling process. The distinction between mechanical recycling and feedstock (or chemical) recycling is that mechanical requires physical separation, whereas feedstock recycling converts mixed PE/PP/PS/PVC into basic hydrocarbon building blocks. Mechanical recycling, very simply, consists of melting down the old plastic and using it to make new products Mechanical recycling can only be done a few times before the polymers break down and the quality of the plastic degrades. Chemical recycling needs toxic chemicals (acids and solvents) to dissolve the plastics. Product design also plays a major role in mechanical recycling. Mechanical recycling cannot treat contaminated plastics or mixed plastic streams. Mechanical Recycling. Polyamides in multilayer film structures are currently classified as non-recyclable materials. Mechanical recycling is bankrupt and not economically viable, nobody wants to invest in this sector anymore. Chemical recycling could be a way around some of mechanical recycling’s shortcomings. Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. Chemical recycling is the new El Dorado, the new promised land. Plastics recycling is as much of a challenge as an opportunity for the circular economy. This requires a great deal of know-how, for example, which dyes and additives can be used in recyclable plastic. Waste valorisation has become an end on itself. In 2013, we started with the recycling of post-consumer bottles, back into a grade suitable for direct food contact and the development of special grades based on recycled materials. For instance; plastic may turn out not to be infinitely chemically recyclable. Chemical recycling claims to be able to recycle almost any plastics; it may encourage the marketing of non-mechanically recyclable plastics. Many different materials can, and SHOULD be recycled, including plastics, paper, metals etc. Chemical recycling splits polymer chains and supplies products such as crude oil, naphtha, or fuels. Compare recycled pellets and virgin pellets and you will understand the problem: it’s not easy to find clients for recycled plastics. Contaminated waste streams may eventually cause a serious operational problem for chemical recycling. Why not incinerate the plastic waste in the first place? When it comes to processing more complex plastics, chemical recycling is the only option. Within the carpet industry, an example of mechanical recycling would be the shearing of post-consumer, nylon, face fiber to be used in needle-punched underlayment or other consumer products. 3. These, in turn, can be used to manufacture new plastics. The by-products and waste of the chemical recycling process will be an environmental hazard. Some say that chemical recycling is nothing more than turning plastic waste into fuel. Because mechanical recycling has the highest CO₂ reduction figures we are also exploring mechanical recycling of other polyester waste streams like polyester textiles and carpets. Chemical recycling is the new El Dorado, the new promised land. Here are the three main types of recycling: mechanical, energy and chemical. Using the chemical recycling technology kills two birds with one stone. This smell can be transferred to the product. The shredded waste is transported by a conveyor belt to the acceleration rotor and ends up in the air stream between the rotor and the stator. Another challenge is the color of the recycled plastic: When plastic waste is shredded and remelted into granulate, the resulting product is black-grey. Economic valorisation may just be an attempt to make profit without any environmental gain, Founder & Editor of BioplasticsNews.com It mechanically crushes the plastic and remelt it into granules that can be used to make new products. In principle, all types of thermoplastics can be mechanically recycled with little or no quality impairment. Chemical recycling may face the same problems. The current approach to recycling just won’t cut it. Mechanical recycling is less energy intensive than chemical recycling. Many assumptions regarding chemical recycling may turn out to be wrong. Mechanical recycling shreds plastic waste and doesn’t’ use toxic chemicals. According to the European Food Safety Authority, granulate from mechanical recycling cannot be used in food packaging. The German Federal Environment Agency points out that in this case, it would be better to convert the waste into energy in a waste incineration plant instead of using fuel as an intermediate step. Plastic products with brilliant colors cannot be produced out of it. This review presents a comprehensive description of the current pathways for recycling of polymers, via both mechanical and chemical recycling. Neidhardt Recycling GmbH (DE):The input material is a PVC-aluminium composite used for blister packaging. It’s not as aesthetically or visually attractive. Mechanical vs. Chemical Recycling. Global annual plastic waste is 220 million tons. Learn more about the benefits of each from Trinseo's Johan Koopmans. Mechanical recycling is bankrupt and not economically viable, nobody wants to invest in this sector anymore. The company has developed what it claims is the first biological process to infinitely recycle PET. Chemical recycling will split the polymer chains (the molecular structure) and provide crude oil, naphtha or fuels. At atmospheric pressure and a temperature of 149 F, it can depolymerize PET into its origi… Our research shows that just 12 percent of plastics waste is currently reused or recycled (Exhibit 1). The applications are also technically limited. Every single type is subdivided into minor categories, but understanding them gives us a better idea of how the world processes most of its recyclables. It will convert 360,000 tonnes of plastic waste into methanol annually. However, funding for chemical recycling is currently much higher than for mechanical recycling. Chemicals. A significant amount of waste is thus rejected at an early stage, reducing the total efficiency of the process. Currently, companies are promoting chemical recycling more strongly, although it requires a lot of energy and does not save much CO2. All comments are subject to moderation. You have to use them to make something different. If these fuels are subsequently burned, even more CO2 is blown into the air. Chemical recycling means recycling of plastics into feedstock for new chemicals. Mechanical recycling requires recyclable plastics. In addition, the granules made from recycled plastic often have an unpleasant smell. landfills, or dumps, means that these materials are lost forever as a resource, despite plastics’ potential for reuse a… Mechanical recycling is very expensive, the end product (recycled plastic) is very expensive compared to virgin plastic. Chemical recycling makes plastic infinitely recyclable. A carbon pricing regime would raise the cash cost of virgin resin production to a higher level than today. Chemical recycling complements mechanical. If, for example, a cheese package consists of seven layers of film, it is not practical to recycle it. The fact that the great majority of used plastics goes to incineration, 1 1. Chemical recycling will not produce virgin like feedstock; it will produce some kind of slime. He cautions that this potential should not be used as an excuse for disregarding better design for recycling and postponing the urgent need to … The granulate could contain substances that are hazardous to health and might get into the food. First, they are collected and separated based on the waste, i.e., sorting residues by type of material and cleaning level; residue reuse, when the separated material goes through one of the three above-listed pr… Chemical recycling will convert plastic waste into a new virgin-like plastic feedstock; enabling “re-cycling” and even “up-cycling”. Food packaging requires food grade plastics and not all recycled plastics fulfil those requirements. Global. Chemical recycling is a minuscule part; it doesn’t exist at large industrial scale; only test projects etc. They both are sustainable solutions. If the initial mixture contains too many different materials or if it is too dirty—both of which are common with plastic waste—the quality of the product decreases and the whole process becomes economically unviable. Protect nature by transforming plastic waste into a valuable resources. Mechanical recycling keeps the molecular structure. These processes are to be distinguished from physical recycling (mechanical recycling and dissolution technologies). Plastics are not infinitely mechanically recyclable; between 3 and 7 times for most plastics. Chemical recycling splits polymer chains and supplies products such as crude oil, naphtha, or fuels. This granulate is then used to make new plastic products. In mechanical recycling, plastic waste (sorted by material type) is milled and washed, passes a flotation separation, and is dried. 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