Chemical Recycling

In recent years, chemical recycling has emerged as one of the potential solution to the issues surrounding the end-of-life disposal of plastics, which could effectively complement mechanical recycling in achieving a circular economy, especially food-grade packaging. As part of their commitment to driving progress towards realising a circular economy, members of the CGF’s Plastic Waste Coalition hope to play a role in making a positive case for a credible and safe chemical recycling system.

In March 2022, 16 Coalition member companies released a co-authored paper which encourages the development of new plastics recycling technologies (focusing on pyrolysis-based chemical recycling) that meet six key principles for credible, safe and environmentally sound development.  The Coalition believes this alignment on a common vision and set of principles for the safe scaling of chemical recycling, provides guidance for the positive development of the technology. At the same time, Coalition members also published the results of an independently commissioned Life Cycle Assessment study that demonstrates in Europe, positive environmental benefits from pyrolysis-based chemical recycling of hard-to-recycle plastics that would otherwise end up in waste-to-energy incineration facilities. The papers (including a non-technical summary of the LCA) are available for download below.

The workstream engages with key stakeholders to ensure its vision and principles receive broad support while sending a strong demand signal for advanced recycling to investors, upstream suppliers, and chemical recyclers to scale up chemical recycling technologies.