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Chemical recycling as a valuable addition

In a position paper, the German Society for Waste Management (DGAW) advocates the use of chemical recycling as a complement to mechanical recycling processes.


The DGAW welcomes the efforts, especially of the chemical and petrochemical industries, to create a supplement to mechanical recycling with investments of around 2.6 billion euros by 2025 and around 7.2 billion euros by 2030 and thus to assume producer responsibility. With mechanical recycling, the ambitious recycling quotas of the EU could not be achieved, neither so far nor in the foreseeable future. Even if the processes of physical and chemical recycling were not yet fully developed, study results showed the high potential of the new processes in addition to the extensive need for research, according to the DGAW. Therefore, the DGAW pleads for further studies to be conducted that examine the life cycle assessment as well as the technical maturity (TRL- technical readiness level) of the processes and to give new processes and players a chance to prove themselves in practice. In addition to recycling quotas, the DGWA believes that substitution quotas or specifications for the "minimum content" of recycled material in virgin material will be increasingly defined in the future, as in the case of PET beverage bottles, which according to EU specifications must consist of 25 percent rPET from 2025. The DGAW very much welcomes this, as it implements its long-standing demand for increased use of recycled material under the responsibility of producers. Chemical recycling can also lead to an increase in the use of post-consumer plastic waste, according to the DGAW. Virgin-quality plastics could be produced from the products (pyrolysis oil or syngas), increasing the recycling of mixed plastics. But the DGAW considers the incineration of mixed plastics processed into pyrolysis oil or syngas not as "recycling," for example, as diesel. Also, many engineering plastics would have to be included, for which there are currently no mechanical processes.



  •, (26.7.2021)
  • Photo: © Dieter Schütz,

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