E3S Web Conf.
Volume 349, 202210th International Conference on Life Cycle Management (LCM 2021)
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Innovations in Circular Economy|
|Published online||20 May 2022|
The impact of secondary materials’ quality on assessing plastic recycling technologies
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute for Industrial Production, 76187 Karlsruhe, Germany
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Global plastic production reached a new high in 2019. The high use of plastic leads to a high amount of plastic waste. Thereof, only 33% was collected for recycling in Europe. Plastic production depends on crude oil and energy and has high environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions. The recycling of plastic waste can reduce dependency on fossil resources, help reduce environmental impacts, and achieve sustainability goals. Currently, the chemical recycling of plastic is discussed to complement the existing mechanical recycling. Comparing the recycling technologies is needed to identify and establish the most environmentally and economically promising technology for each waste stream. However, the quality of the recovered material has a high impact on assessment results. This study discusses different assessment metrics for recycling technologies concerning the influence of recovered materials’ quality by material substitution rates and circularity potential. In a case study, mechanical and chemical recycling via pyrolysis of HDPE from lightweight packaging waste from Germany is assessed. Mechanical recycling has a lower climate change impact than chemical recycling for material substitution rates above 0.85. On the other hand, chemical recycling has a higher potential to close the plastic loop and retain plastics within the economy due to the higher secondary material quality. The assessment allows evaluating recycling options for the considered plastics from the German collection systems for packaging.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2022
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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