Blog Posts

Beyond Mechanical: How Chemical Recycling is Revolutionising Waste Management

03/29/2024

In global waste management practices, exploring innovative avenues is significant for a greener feature. While mechanical recycling was once considered promising for sustainability, chemical recycling is now increasingly seen as a more innovative solution.

This blog will discuss how chemical recycling overcomes challenges faced by mechanical recycling as the demand for sustainable waste solutions increases.

 

Mechanical Recycling as the Old Guard

Mechanical recycling involves crushing and melting plastic waste into granules to create new products. However, it has limitations in recycling mixed and contaminated plastic waste streams, different grades of the same polymer, and contamination resulting from consumer use.

The challenges of mechanical recycling are more evident with complex plastics, such as materials with multiple layers or composites. The rise in single-use plastics and complicated packaging designs make the situation even worse, as mechanical processes struggle to handle these changing waste streams.

The mechanical processes involved in recycling also lead to a decline in quality with each cycle, also known as downcycling. Downcycling limits the usability of recycled materials for high-performance applications.

With the increasing amount of global plastic waste, there is a growing need for advanced solutions. One such solution is chemical recycling, which promotes a more sustainable approach to plastic waste management.

 

Promising Transition: From Mechanical Recycling to Chemical Recycling

Chemical recycling has significant potential to reduce environmental impact and support a circular economy, making it a promising solution for a sustainable future.

This recycling practice revolutionises the future of waste management by converting polymeric waste into raw materials for plastics or other products. Various technologies are used, including pyrolysis, gasification, hydro-cracking, and depolymerisation.

waste management

This process breaks down polymers into their building blocks, allowing the production of recycled plastic (recyclate) with properties similar to virgin plastic.This way, it prevents various challenges encountered in mechanical recycling. Here’s how:

  1. Handling Diverse Plastic Types: Chemical recycling can process a wider range of plastics, addressing a key challenge of mechanical recycling.
  2. Preserving Material Quality: Chemical recycling breaks down polymers into their molecular components, preserving material quality and creating high-quality materials similar to virgin materials.
  3. Handling Contaminated Materials: Chemical processes effectively remove impurities during depolymerisation, resulting in cleaner and purer recycled materials.
  4. Addressing Complex Plastics: Chemical recycling is more effective in handling complex plastics by efficiently breaking down complex structures.
  5. Reducing Environmental Impact: Chemical recycling reduces the need for continuous extraction of fossil resources and offers a more eco-friendly approach, potentially reducing the environmental impact of traditional recycling methods.

 

SynPet’s Leadership in Revolutionising Chemical Recycling

SynPet aims to revolutionise waste management recycling and contribute to sustainable development in the Port of Antwerp, a major petrochemical cluster in Europe, through its partnership with Kolmar Group AG.

SynPet is considered a pioneer in global waste management with sustainable innovations. SynPet’s recycling technology, the Thermal Conversion Process (TCP™), offers waste management a comprehensive solution to the plastic recycling crisis and other environmental challenges.

TCP™ transforms waste recycling by converting carbon-containing waste into valuable and sustainable materials. It can recycle all types of plastic, including “impossible to recycle” waste. Additionally, TCP™ serves as a cost-effective method that eliminates the need for waste cleaning, separation, or drying, as it utilises water.

TCP™ offers a circular economy model for plastic waste management:

  • All waste plastics are recycled into circular naphtha.
  • Petrochemical companies use circular naphtha to create new plastic materials.
  • Packaging companies use the plastic to create high-quality packaging for the consumer goods industry.
  • Consumer goods companies incorporate this packaging into their manufacturing processes.
  • After use, the packaging is returned to SynPet recycling facilities to be converted back into circular naphtha.

 

Conclusion

In summary, mechanical recycling has difficulties in meeting the global demand for waste recycling, mainly because of complexities in its process.

With advanced solutions for chemical recycling, SynPet offers efficient management of global waste and promotes a circular economy. The innovative methods of SynPet go beyond traditional approaches by minimising environmental impact and maximising resource utilisation. 

Partner with SynPet to transform waste recycling and build a sustainable future.

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