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Current trend study on chemical recycling

There are signs "of a booming market," according to an updated trend study by consulting firm ecoprog.


The number of global projects for the chemical recycling of plastics at various stages of development rose from 70 to 140 last year, according to the trend study, a second edition of which has now been published by ecoprog. The number of projects in the construction phase had also doubled from 6 to 12, according to the study. As in the previous year, most chemical plastics recycling projects involved pyrolysis, ecoprog explains. The number of active plants, most of which were pilot plants and not commercial projects, increased from 20 to 37, the study said. These plants processed nearly 145,000 tons of plastic waste annually, according to ecoprog. According to ecoprog, the rising number of plants and project announcements, as well as the increasing number of second- and third-party projects by established suppliers, can be taken as an indication that the technology is becoming a booming market. The ecoprog trend study examined the technical fundamentals, market factors, development status, plant inventory, projects and competition in the chemical recycling sector worldwide. The study showed that chemical recycling still involves companies from various industries, is said. These included chemical and oil companies investing in the production of feedstocks for fuel production, startups and technology providers looking to develop and commercialize chemical recycling technologies, and plastics manufacturers and recyclers seeking improved recycling processes. Despite all the progress, the technology remains controversial, is said. For proponents, chemical recycling offered the possibility of fully recycling plastics in the future without downcycling, as well as a complement to mechanical processes, since it can also handel contaminated and mixed waste streams that currently cannot be mechanically recycled. The main criticism on chemical recycling is the high carbon dioxide emissions. It was uncertain to what extent the market for chemical recycling will continue to develop and to what extent the processes will be able to establish themselves economically, says ecoprog. So far, many countries and regions around the world lacked regulations and specifications, such as the extent to which chemical recycling is recognized as material recovery.

Further information: more details on the study



  • (April 26, 2023)
  • Photo: © Pixelio, Dieter Schütz (symbol image)

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