Feedstock recycling of PLA – a biobased polymer goes circular

Plastics from renewable resources like polylactide (PLA) are gaining more and more market share. With the proliferation of PLA, issues concerning the end-of-life options of PLA products gain more and more importance. One possibility, regarded as being the most favorable several years ago, is the processing of PLA in industrial composting plants.

Continue reading “Feedstock recycling of PLA – a biobased polymer goes circular”

Feedstock recycling of PLA – a biobased polymer goes circular

Plastics from renewable resources like polylactide (PLA) are gaining more and more market share. With the proliferation of PLA, issues concerning the end-of-life options of PLA products gain more and more importance. One possibility, regarded as being the most favorable several years ago, is the processing of PLA in industrial composting plants.

Continue reading “Feedstock recycling of PLA – a biobased polymer goes circular”

What is chemical recycling / pyrolysis?

Chemical recycling today often refers to technologies that can be classed depending on the level at which they break down the plastic waste. Concretely, the technologies can be divided into 3 types:

  • Solvent-based purification. Comprises technologies that go down to the polymer stage. They are capable of decontaminating the plastic but cannot address its degradation. They work only with monostreams (PVC, PS, PE, PP).
  • Chemical depolymerisation. Chemical process which turns the plastics back into their monomers. Allows for decontamination but not addressing degradation. Only works with monostreams (PET, PU, PA, PLA, PC, PHA, PEF).
  • Thermal depolymerisation and cracking (pyrolysis and gasification) are energy-intensive processes which turn the polymers back into simpler molecules. They are capable of decontaminating polymers and, by bringing plastic back to its original building blocks, addressing the degradation of the material. These technologies can deal with more than one monomer at a time and are also capable of producing fuels. This raises the need for strict regulatory controls to prevent plastic being turned into fuel in lieu of recycling.
Continue reading “What is chemical recycling / pyrolysis?”