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Market Scenario Nova Presents New Report on Chemical Recycling

Editor: Ahlam Rais

Nova’s new market and technology report elaborates on chemical recycling by offering details on the latest trends and challenges of this technology. The report will prove useful for the chemical and plastic industry, brands, technology scouts, investors, and policy makers.

Cover of the market and technology report: Chemical recycling – Status, Trends and Challenges’.
Cover of the market and technology report: Chemical recycling – Status, Trends and Challenges’.
(Source: Nova-Institut)

Germany – The report provides deep insights into current developments in order to assert a position in the current discussion based on clear definitions and categorisations of all technologies. More than 70 companies and research institutes, which developed and offer chemical recycling technologies, are presented in the report. Each company is listed with its technologies and status, investment and cooperation partners. Additionally, the report provides an overview of waste policy in the European Union. And finally, 10 companies and research institutes were interviewed to receive first-hand information around the topic of chemical recycling.

The current life cycle of plastic products shows gaps. Overall, 30 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated annually in Europe from which about 29 million tonnes are collected. The majority of the collected plastic waste is incinerated or landfilled which are the least desirable options according to the waste hierarchy. Besides conventional mechanical recycling a wide spectrum of chemical recycling technologies is moving into focus in the context of discussions on the improvement of current recycling rates.

Latest Chemical Recycling Technologies as Core Technologies for the Circular Economy and the European Green Deal?

Chemical recycling technologies are presenting innovative options to deal with post-consumer waste and offer a range of alternatives that are not available in current material recycling pathways. Since these new technologies are in early development stages, developers are facing the challenge to prove their potential. Proponents of chemical recycling see the latest technologies as core technologies of the circular economy and the European Green Deal while critics refer to the technologies’ lack of maturity and the wide uncertainty ranges of existing assessments.

PROCESS Insights 2020-01
Current Challenges for Polyethylene Market and Projects

Polyethylene is one of the most widely used plastic resins in the world, accounting for over 1/3rd of the global plastics market.

While the market has been growing in the past, it is now experiencing a reduction in price that can be traced back to several factors including trade disputes, bans on single use plastics as well as overproduction. These factors are further exacerbated by the recent outbreak of COVID-19, which has an effect on the global economy.

This 11-page Expert Insight further explores reasons for the decline as well as possible strategies to mitigate these problems.

However, aside from the early development stage, the situation on the market shows that many companies have already developed and even implemented their technologies at small scale. Several companies recently announced the construction of chemical recycling plants, some with the aim to be operational as early as 2021. A number of these projects are based on collaborations and joint ventures, where the investment brings together technology and supply chain synergies, as for example between polymer/plastic producers and waste collectors.

On the one hand, the whole sector is characterised by great dynamics, high expectations and investment interest. On the other hand, there are still large uncertainties and scepticism as to how the new technologies should be evaluated and regulated. In Europe, the chemical recycling sector is waiting for a clear start signal via clear political framework conditions. On the basis of technical-ecological analyses in this report, a reassessment of chemical recycling processes compared to the official status quo would be appropriate. This should focus in particular on the question of which technologies count as recycling and can be included in the recycling quota. The report points out that regulation should aim to direct the waste stream in a complementary approach to the most appropriate technology with the lowest environmental impact.

Nova market studies are built on top of latest insights from market experts, thorough research and a large number of individual interviews with industry players to ensure highest quality of the available market data. The market and technology report ‘Chemical Recycling – Status, Trends, and Challenges’ is now available – in addition further market studies on various topics of the bio-based and CO2-based economy can be found at: www.bio-based.eu/reports/.

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