Recent developments in markets and policy indicate a clear transformation and long-lasting change in the circular economy of plastics. While the European Green Deal has set the overarching aim for the European Union, markets and big industrial players as well as emerging start-ups worldwide have set off on a journey to implement and establish advanced recycling solutions. Still, some milestones in this quest can only be achieved through co-operation, partnerships, acquisitions, or fusions which could be observed throughout many announcements of past year. Especially the most recent developments point towards strategies that build bridges between conventional mechanical recycling and advanced recycling technologies in which both elements complement each other.
The current landscape offers a versatile set of different technologies that serve as an interface between a wide range of different waste streams and products to further improve existing or establish new value chains. These technologies are based on mechanical, physical, biochemical, chemical, and thermochemical processes whereby the boarders of some processes may be floating. Not all pathways could be ecologically or economically meaningful which is currently extensively evaluated and discussed. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the most widely recognised and accepted methodology for analysing potential environmental impacts to assess environmental sustainability. Several LCAs on different recycling technologies and value chains are already published. However, critical aspects remain to be discussed and clarified, for instance on how to conduct such assessment in detail and which parameters to consider in order to compare the different technologies, feedstocks, and products with each other to draw meaningful conclusions.
Besides the recycling technologies, pre- and post-processing as well as upgrading technologies represent important pillars for the establishment of meaningful value chains and together contribute to the evolution of the circular economy.
With the first confirmed speakers the attendees of ARC already offer insights into those developments including exchange and networking opportunities with a variety of stakeholders along the entire plastics value chain.
- BASF (DE), Carolin Deregowski – LCA of chemical recycling of mixed plastic waste
- Carbios (FR), Martin Stephan – Recycling any kind of PET wastes into any kind of PET products: the power of biology
- DSD – Duales System (DE), Michael Wiener – Closed loop recycling – building bridges between chemical and mechanical recycling
- Interzero (DE), Richard von Goetze – Enabling Chemical Recycling in Germany – What feedstock can actually be used for Chemical Recycling
- KPMG (NL), Tom Hesselink – The green deal: a game changer for the waste management and plastics industries
- Krauss Maffei Extrusion (DE), Franz-Xaver Keilbach – Solvent-based and chemical recycling with single and twin-screw extrusion
- Plastic Energy (UK), Carlos Monreal – Closed-loop recycling: building bridges between chemical and mechanical recycling
- Rittec Umwelttechnik (DE), Mathias Kirstein – Innovative back-to-monomer recycling – solution for mixed PET/Polyester waste
- Shell (DE), N.N. – Shell’s Plastic Circular Economy ambitions
- Sulzer Chemtech (CH), Luis Hoffmann – Overcoming the challenge of purification in chemical recycling.