Chemical recycling has
taken root in many plastic and metallic waste recycling companies across the
world. It has proven to be a more efficient and less costly method of handling
waste than mechanical recycling. Chemicals like sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid,
and hydrogen chloride are used to break down compounds and remove impurities.
The quest to reduce environmental degradation has led to the development of new
recycling technologies such as gasification and depolymerization to create new
and safer products. Technological advancement spearheaded by chemical
technologists has created sustainable methods of waste management.
Used Plastics Add Value in New Recycling Technology.
A study was conducted in
Washington by the North American Plastics Alliance and the American Chemistry
Council on Gasification as an alternative technology to landfilling. It was
found that addition of non-recycled solid waste to gasification feedstock led
to an increase in the amount of end product that has value. The process led to
the rise in energy consumption by a small margin. It was also found that
non-recycled plastic reduces the level of byproduct by approximately 76%.
According to Craig Cookson, gasification is a viable method to increase the
value of new products. The study shows that the City of Edmonton and Enerkem
have already commercialized the technology whereby the municipal solid waste is
converted into ethanol and methanol.
Case Study – Recycling Technologies.
According to The Science
Cities Research Alliance, recycling technologies were formed to commercialize
on the plastic recycling approaches that was fronted by Jonathan Seville and
Jan Baeyens. The study focused on the use of pyrolysis to convert waste
materials into unusable ones by decomposing them using high temperature. In the
research, Adrian says that people consume a lot of plastic out of which only
12% is recyclable while the rest is burnet as fuel. Most household separate
plastic with the idea that it can be recycled and it is also time-consuming
even for the company due to its labor-intensive nature.
The recycling technology
is a simple process that can be applied to every plastic waste, and it can also
break polymers like polystyrene into their respective monomers. Pyrolysis can
also be used in business units to monetize the recycling process. When the
recycling Technologies Ltd was incorporated, a team was formed and a pyrolysis
reactor established in Swindon. It was built to turn unsorted plastic waste
into plaxx which is a hydrocarbon. The plaxx can be used as fuel or as a slack
wax that is used as paraffin wax and cosmetics. The pyrolysis technology is a
useful process in the manufacture of polymers. The end product plaxx is added
to the process as a feedstock thus making plastics to be sustainable materials.
Recycling: Could This Breakthrough Technology Curb Plastic Waste?
Currently, 20% of PET
plastic is being recycled to make new food packages. It is attributed to the
fact that only food grade PET can be used and also the quality in the market
for recycling is poor which makes it expensive to try and recycle. A DEMETO
consortium was formed to create the process of PET chemical recycling
sustainable by use of depolymerization by microwave technology.
The technology breaks
down PET into terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. The Coca-Cola Company is
working in collaboration with DEMETO together with other experts to enable
recycling of PET. The move is intended to break the circular economy of
plastics. depolymerization is yet to get full implementation since the
technology is still in the validation stage. It is estimated that by 2021 they
would have established an industrial reactor and that Coca-Cola and other
companies in the food and beverage industry will be able to recycle at least
50% of the PET bottles.
In conclusion, chemical
recycling technologies need to be tested, validated and planned for before
being commercialized in the manufacturing sector. This will go a long way in
helping to adopt green technology that will eliminate the world of wastes, a
campaign run by the World without waste vision. A single company cannot do
technological innovation and implementation in the chemical recycling,
therefore manufacturing companies together with the research institution need
to work in collaboration to break the plastic circular economy. Consumers
should be enlightened on waste management through recycling so that they can
support in the journey to create sustainable technologies.
By: Taylor Welsh
Recycling: Could This Breakthrough Technology Curb Plastic Waste? (2018, 25).
Spinout Case Study – Recycling Technologies. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Used Plastics Add Value in New Chemical Recycling Technology. (n.d.). Retrieved
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