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Plastics-to-oil recyclers seek voice in resources debate

chemical process at scale

The emerging chemical recycling industry has set up an organisation to promote plastics-to-oil technology in order to influence resources policy in the EU.

Chemical Recycling Europe (CRC) is intended to secure closer collaboration with EU institutions and develop industry-wide relationships throughout value chains concerned with polymer recycling.

Proponents of chemical recycling say any type of plastic can be transformed back into feedstock to create, in effect, new virgin material.

The CRC’s first president is Carlos Monreal, chief executive of Plastic Energy. 

He said: “We will work together with all stakeholders having an interest in our activities, and we want to ensure a ‘plastics back to plastics’ development in order to differentiate our activity from incineration.

“Our chemical recycling companies will handle the more difficult plastic wastes that cannot be mechanically recycled and are still being landfilled or incinerated today.”

He said chemical recycling was a complementary solution for recycling end-of-life plastics.

Chemical recycling gained only a brief mention in the Government’s resources and waste strategy, which described it as “a family of treatment technologies where waste plastic is chemically treated in a way that recovers the base chemical constituents of which it is made”.

It said chemical recycling “has the potential to provide a complementary route for recycling such plastics where mechanical recycling is either impractical or uneconomic”.

The industry is growing from small origins with the creation last November of the Demeto Partnership, a group of 13 businesses, academic and trade bodies looking to develop an industrial-grade pilot plant that uses microwaves to break the poly­mer chains.

Recycling Technologies has tested the potential for waste site oper­ators to recycle all plastics by combining mechanical and feed­stock recycling in an advanced plastics recycling facility.

Other board members of the CRC elected were: Jeroen Bulk (Ioniqa Technologies), Maurizio Crippa (Gr3n), Richard Daley (RENEW ELP) and Floris Geeris (IGE Solutions).

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