Slide background
Slide background




Chemical Recycling of Polymeric Materials from Waste

ID 14977 | | Visite: 765 | Documenti Chemicals ECHAPermalink: https://www.certifico.com/id/14977

Chemical Recycling of Polymeric Materials from Waste EHA

Chemical Recycling of Polymeric Materials from Waste in the Circular Economy

Final Report ECHA August 2021

The purpose of the study was to investigate the current state of knowledge regarding the chemical recycling of polymeric materials (e.g., plastics, rubber) from waste. The specific objectives of the study were the collection of information, through the review of literature, the consultation of experts and the development of case studies, and the preparation of a report on the following areas: sources, main materials, substances and processes of chemical recycling; current performance of chemical recycling technologies; opportunities and challenges; benefits in the context of the circular economy; readiness level of different technologies and regulatory oversight.

Chemical recycling is used for processing various types of waste, including biomass, concrete and plastic waste. Only a small part of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled or incinerated, with the rest accumulating in landfills and becoming ubiquitous in the natural environment. The importance of reducing plastic pollution has been recognised in various EU strategic documents, where chemical recycling has been considered among various potential solutions to contribute to recycling of plastics. Considering the scale of plastic pollution and the potential role that chemical recycling could play in addressing some of the related issues, this study focuses on chemical recycling of plastic waste. The research questions were organised into six topics: chemical recycling technologies, waste streams, recovered substances, materials and waste residues, chemical recycling and substances of very high concern, chemical recycling and policy developments and chemical recycling and tracking systems.

It should be noted that the study focuses on the European Union situation and developments in chemical recycling, although relevant studies from other countries have been reviewed where appropriate.

To address the research questions, the authors reviewed 229 research and grey literature sources and interviewed 22 experts in chemical recycling. The review covered literature published since 2015 to collect and analyse the most recent information. This selection criterion did not apply to legislation and guidance on its implementation. The expert consultation was aimed at complementing and crosschecking the information found in the literature through expert judgement. The experts were selected through an internet poll publicised by the authors and the European Chemicals Agency and consulted using the semi-structured interviewing method. Thematic analysis was applied for the interpretation of the interview results. The research topics were addressed in the following thematic parts of the study: Chemical Recycling in the Context of the Circular Economy (Section 3), Waste Streams in Chemical Recycling (Section 4), Chemical Recycling Technologies (Section 5), Substances of Concern in Chemical Recycling (Section 6), Regulatory Issues in Chemical Recycling (Section 7), and Technical Issues in Chemical Recycling (Section 8).

The study resulted in six conclusions and four recommendations:

CONCLUSION 1. The lack of clarity in chemical recycling terminology leads to confusing conclusions on the potential role of chemical recycling in the circular economy. In scholarly literature, the concept of ‘recycling’ has a broader meaning than in EU regulatory documents and includes fuel as a possible product of recycling. Production of fuel by means of chemical recycling received substantial attention in scholarly literature. However, civil organisations criticise the production of fuel through chemical recycling, pointing to the associated environmental impacts. In grey literature, there is a lack of clarity on what technologies should be considered as chemical recycling, with some reports classifying dissolution as a chemical recycling technology. However, dissolution does not imply chemical changes in the structure of the recovered polymers, which may be considered a definitive feature of chemical recycling technologies

RECOMMENDATION 1.1 Harmonisation of chemical recycling terminology is necessary for a sound and consistent discussion about the potential of chemical recycling in the circular economy. Papers, reports and regulatory documents should always specify the chemical reprocessing technologies included in their scope. This would allow distinguishing the technologies that meet the definition of ‘recycling’ provided by the Waste Framework Directive from those that do not meet the definition.

CONCLUSION 2. Chemical recycling technologies differ in their potential to contribute to the circularity of plastics. Based on the qualitative evaluation of research papers on chemical recycling, the established technologies – pyrolysis, gasification and chemolysis – vary in their ability to ensure the circularity of plastics. Pyrolysis and gasification produce by-products and non-reusable residues that need to be disposed of. Both technologies mostly produce intermediates that require further processing to become either chemical products, fuels, or energy, and therefore do not result in circular closed-loop systems for plastics. Both technologies can treat heterogeneous streams of plastic waste, including mixed and contaminated post-consumer plastic waste, and could therefore complement mechanical recycling in dealing with waste streams that otherwise would be landfilled or incinerated. Chemolysis is reported to produce monomers of a virgin-grade quality. The literature search did not identify discussions on by-products or residues of chemolysis.

RECOMMENDATION 2.1 The potential of specific chemical recycling technologies to contribute to the circularity of plastics should be evaluated case-by-case to avoid mistaken generalisations of advantages/disadvantages of one technology to the whole field of chemical recycling. CONCLUSION 3. Analysis of research literature has shown fragmented knowledge about the fate of substances of concern in various chemical recycling processes. Available studies mainly focused on various types of pyrolysis of e-waste and the fate of brominated flame retardants; however, no studies were identified for other established chemical recycling technologies. It is important to note that various pyrolysis technologies demonstrated different abilities to cope with substances of concern. The findings of the identified studies do not provide a solid ground for making conclusions about the fate of substances of concern in all established chemical recycling processes. Furthermore, it is not clear if the technologies analysed in the scholarly literature have been applied in industrial settings.

RECOMMENDATION 3.1 The behaviour and fate of substances of concern in gasification and chemolysis should be investigated. Moreover, in order to make sound conclusions, such investigation should be carried out in commercial or pilot chemical recycling plants applying gasification, chemolysis or any other chemical recycling technology.

CONCLUSION 4. Regulatory issues in chemical recycling are not discussed in the scientific literature. Several issues raised in mechanical recycling could be relevant to specific chemical recycling technologies as well. These issues include insufficient measures to promote recycling of plastic waste in the EU directives on packaging, construction materials and end-of-life vehicles, the absence of information about the presence of SoCs in plastic waste streams and regulatory uncertainties over the waste classification, end of waste criteria and related duties of the operators. However, the opportunities and challenges posed by the REACH Regulation and other chemicals, waste and product safety legislations remain specific to each chemical recycling technology. It should be noted that important steps have been taken to review the EU directives and overcome their weaknesses related to recycling.

RECOMMENDATION 4.1 The regulatory issues in chemical recycling should be studied on a case-bycase basis, separately for each type of chemical recycling technology.

CONCLUSION 5. Digital technologies contribute to improving the traceability of substances of concern in recycling. Some chemical recycling technologies are either sensitive to specific constituents of plastic waste or can process only some sorts of plastic waste. The literature analysis has shown that many databases with information about chemical substances contained in articles exist to assist recyclers in locating information about substances of concern. Screening and sorting technologies in recycling facilities help to identify substances of concern. The importance of sorting the incoming waste was recognised in the stakeholder interviews. However, the databases lack historical information about legacy substances of concern, and information is dispersed across various datasets with different access and search options. In addition, screening technologies vary in their ability to detect SoCs, with the most accurate and sophisticated technologies also being the most expensive.

CONCLUSION 6. Blockchain technology offers a solution for monitoring substances of concern in plastic waste; however, its implementation requires substantial inter-organisational and organisational efforts. The main advantages of blockchain are decentralised management, verifiability of information, ability to track any event or transaction at different lifecycle stages of plastic materials and goods from manufacturing to end-of-life. However, the benefits of blockchains for recyclers come at the cost of large-scale digital transformation of the whole supply chain. The success of such initiatives depends on commitment, investments and collaboration between multiple players and requires a substantial amount of time to make blockchain solutions functional. Different existing digital tools – databases, screening and sorting technologies, digital and printed tags can be combined for satisfying the practical needs of recyclers.

ECHA 2021

Add more in attachment

Descrizione Livello Dimensione Downloads
Allegato riservato Chemical Recycling of Polymeric Materials from Waste.pdf
ECHA 2021
2170 kB 6

Tags: Chemicals Abbonati Chemicals Guida ECHA

Articoli correlati

Ultimi archiviati Chemicals

Regolamento delegato UE 2023 207  Modello certificato conformit  norme produzione biologica
Feb 01, 2023 76

Regolamento delegato (UE) 2023/207

Regolamento delegato (UE) 2023/207 / Modello certificato conformità norme produzione biologica ID 18878 | 01.02.2023 Regolamento delegato (UE) 2023/207 della Commissione del 24 novembre 2022 che modifica il regolamento (UE) 2018/848 del Parlamento europeo e del Consiglio per quanto riguarda il… Leggi tutto
Gen 30, 2023 53

Regolamento di esecuzione (UE) 2021/2325

Regolamento di esecuzione (UE) 2021/2325 ID 18867 | 30.01.2023 Regolamento di esecuzione (UE) 2021/2325 della Commissione del 16 dicembre 2021 che stabilisce, ai sensi del regolamento (UE) 2018/848 del Parlamento europeo e del Consiglio, l'elenco dei paesi terzi e l'elenco delle autorità e degli… Leggi tutto
Gen 30, 2023 62

Regolamento di esecuzione (UE) 2023/186

Regolamento di esecuzione (UE) 2023/186 ID 18866 | 30.01.2023 Regolamento di esecuzione (UE) 2023/186 della Commissione del 27 gennaio 2023 che modifica il regolamento di esecuzione (UE) 2021/2325 per quanto riguarda il riconoscimento di talune autorità di controllo e taluni organismi di controllo… Leggi tutto
Parametri microbiologici acque   Escherichia coli
Gen 26, 2023 116

Parametri microbiologici acque - Escherichia coli

Parametri microbiologici acque - Escherichia coli ID 18842 | 26.01.2023 / In allegato I batteri coliformi totali che sono capaci di fermentare il lattosio a 44-45°C sono conosciuti come coliformi fecali o termotolleranti, il genere è Escherichia, ma alcuni tipi di Citrobacter, Klebsiella ed… Leggi tutto
Parametri microbiologici acque   Enterococchi
Gen 26, 2023 138

Parametri microbiologici acque - Enterococchi

Parametri microbiologici acque - Enterococchi ID 18841 | 26.01.2023 / In allegato Gli Enterococchi intestinali sono un sottogruppo di un più ampio gruppo di organismi definiti come Streptococchi fecali, che comprendono specie del genere Streptococcus. Sono batteri Gram-positivi, anaerobi… Leggi tutto
Valutazione del rischio e valore guida acque   Tallio
Gen 26, 2023 106

Valutazione del rischio e valore guida acque - Tallio

Valutazione del rischio e valore guida acque - Tallio ID 18840 | 26.01.2023 / In allegato Assorbimento e distribuzione Il tallio è rapidamente assorbito e si distribuisce rapidamente (circa 1 ora dopo l’esposizione) in tutto il corpo sia negli animali da laboratorio che negli uomini,… Leggi tutto
Valutazione del rischio e valore guida acque   Nichel
Gen 26, 2023 76

Valutazione del rischio e valore guida acque - Nichel

Valutazione del rischio e valore guida acque - Nichel ID 18839 | 26.01.2023 / In allegato Assorbimento e distribuzione In seguito ad esposizione per via orale la biodisponibilità del nichel può variare dall’1% al 40%. I fattori che ne determinano la biodisponibilità sono la solubilità del composto… Leggi tutto
Valutazione del rischio e valore guida acque   Fluoro
Gen 26, 2023 95

Valutazione del rischio e valore guida acque - Fluoro

Valutazione del rischio e valore guida acque - Fluoro ID 18838 | 26.01.2023 / In allegato Assorbimento e distribuzione Dopo l’assunzione per via orale, i composti del fluoro solubili in acqua sono rapidamente e quasi completamente assorbiti nel tratto gastro intestinale. Anche il fluoro presente… Leggi tutto
Valutazione del rischio e valore guida acque   Cromo
Gen 26, 2023 69

Valutazione del rischio e valore guida acque - Cromo

Valutazione del rischio e valore guida acque - Cromo ID 18837 | 26.01.2023 / In allegato Assorbimento e distribuzione I composti del cromo trivalente, Cr(III), presentano in generale un basso assorbimento per via orale. Nell’uomo l’assorbimento orale stimato è dello 0.4 %. L’assorbimento e la… Leggi tutto

Più letti Chemicals

Regolamento  CE  n  178 2002
Ott 24, 2022 74918

Regolamento (CE) N. 178/2002

Regolamento (CE) n. 178/2002 Regolamento (CE) n. 178/2002 del Parlamento europeo e del Consiglio del 28 gennaio 2002 che stabilisce i principi e i requisiti generali della legislazione alimentare, istituisce l'Autorità europea per la sicurezza alimentare e fissa procedure nel campo della sicurezza… Leggi tutto