Decarbonisation Technology - February 2023

Ocean plastic waste

Post-consumer plastic waste

Post-industrial plastic waste

Textile collection & baling

Flex plastic lm collection & baling

Municipal solid waste

Materials recovery facility




Fuels/waxes/ lubricants

Land ll



Pyrolysis/ liquefaction

Dissolution- based approaches

Mechanical recycling

Waste incineration plant

Pyrolysis oil

Steam cracking

Catalytic upgrading

E x t r u s i o n



Resins with degraded prope r ties

Asphalt/ asphalt additives

Pure resins with virgin properties

Figure 1 Materials recovery facility incorporating mechanical and chemical recycling of plastics

(Alliance To End Plastic Waste, 2022). In a perfect world, 90% of all plastics should be recycled. For this to happen, there needs to be collaboration throughout the value chain. This starts with design and includes incentives that drive the right consumer behaviours. It then utilises best practices in waste management More needs to be done to standardise practice, increase consistency, and reduce confusion on what can be recycled and how to recycle with the separation and collection of plastic waste in combination with both mechanical and chemical recycling. Moreover, microplastics from cosmetics, paints, and the use of recycled PET in clothing fabrics are a significant route of plastic leakage to the environment, for which collection to

recover the leaked plastics is difficult. In the case of microplastics, recycling by design, for both the original materials and the way these are handled (such as laundry washing), is essential, i.e. tackling the problem at the source. Recycling by design makes it easier to recycle plastics by reducing the use of mixed plastic components and packaging, considering the colours and dyes used and also using labelling that is easy to remove from the used items. Circularity requires two elements. The first is an effective waste management collection system that eliminates waste leakage. The second is that participants in the value chain invest in new business models that span collection, sorting, and recycling to drive plastic circularity (McKinsey, 2022b). In developing countries, the priority is to introduce more effective waste management systems. However, in countries with well-developed waste management systems already in place, more needs to be done to standardise practice,


Powered by