Since mechanical recycling is limited because of an increase of residues in the material in each cycle, a team across BASF has taken up this challenge and developed the ChemCycling project. With chemical recycling, fossil resources for chemical production can be replaced with recycled material from plastic waste. How does it work? Plastic waste will be transformed into a raw material using thermochemical processes. The raw material can be fed into the Verbund to create new chemical products with excellent product performance based on recycled plastic waste.
As chemical recycling is an option to recycle mixed, multi-layer or other complex plastics, it is complementary to mechanical recycling and can be a more sustainable alternative to incineration or landfill. With a life-cycle analysis we ensure that the innovative approach creates value for the environment. Chemical recycling represents an exciting business opportunity for us and our customers, as the resulting products are of equal quality to the products derived from fossil feedstock.
Chemical recycling as an additional route to mechanical recycling has the potential to
- Recycle plastics for which there are no recycling solutions today.
- Remove undesired substances in the process.
- Produce virgin-grade recycled material.
- Turn waste into feedstock for the chemical industry.
- Before chemical recycling can fulfill its potential, both technological and regulatory requirements have to be met.
- On the one hand, the existing technologies for conversion of plastic waste into pyrolysis oil or syngas need to be further developed and adapted to ensure a reliable high quality of the secondary raw materials.
- On the other hand, the regulatory framework will determine whether the technology will become established in the waste industry. For example, the acceptance of chemical recycling and mass balance approaches for the fulfillment of recycling targets is crucial.
Dr. Christine Bunte
+32 2 740 0364