/* ---- Google Analytics Code Below */

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Advanced Recycling: Opportunities for Growth

Noting especially plastics. 

Advanced recycling: Opportunities for growth  in McKinsey

May 16, 2022 | ArticleBy Zhou Peng, Theo Jan Simons, Jeremy Wallach, and Adam Youngman

Advanced recycling: Opportunities for growth

As interest in the circular economy grows, emerging recycling technologies that are complementary with mechanical recycling are accelerating.

 Article (8 pages)

As industries continue to shift away from fossil fuels and toward sustainability, many consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) companies have pledged to sell goods that have less impact on the environment. These pledges affect a large portion of the plastic products people use or encounter in everyday life, including packaging materials such as bottles, caps, meal trays, and flexible film wrap. As a result, the demand for circular polymers is rapidly increasing—but capacity announcements are not on pace with demand growth.1

Advanced recycling offers one potential solution. This term refers to recent technological developments meant to complement mechanical recycling—which has generally been the default approach to recycling for the past 30 years. Mechanical recycling is most effective with high-quality, relatively clean sorted waste; it faces structural limitations such as limited pools of appropriate feedstock and resulting material properties that limit end-market applications.

Advanced recycling can not only expand the types of plastics that are recyclable but also produce plastics that have tailored molecular weight distributions and comonomers that are suited for high-value applications, such as flexible packaging for food. However, capacity is limited today; many of these technologies are still developing and scaling.

Given the still-limited scale and uncertain financial returns, advanced recycling is a work in progress. This article addresses the current state of affairs as well as how to mature advanced-recycling technologies, building out infrastructure and sortation, and setting up end-to-end partnerships.

Accelerating demand for recycled plastics

Demand for recycled polymers is growing, primarily because of increased consumer awareness, CPG pledges, and regulations (Exhibit 1). These plastics can be produced through either mechanical recycling or advanced recycling. In mechanical recycling, plastic waste is washed, shredded, and pelletized, while in advanced recycling there is a chemical change and a longer route to go from plastic waste to ready-to-use plastic.  ..... '

No comments: