This research is hoped to serve as a ‘quantitative and transparent’ data set of material quality, material retention, circularity, contamination tolerance, minimum selling price, greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, land use, toxicity, waste generation, and water use metrics for closed-loop polymer recycling technologies, which can them be used to compare emerging recycling solutions as they develop.

The results state that mechanical recycling and PET glycolysis result in the best economic and environmental performances, with respective decreases of 9%-73% and 7%-88% when compared to competing technologies. Meanwhile, the highest-quality recyclate materials are said to come from dissolution, enzymatic hydrolysis, and methanolysis, which are said to raise the quality of standard recyclates by 2%-27%.

Mechanical recycling is said to have outperformed the other technologies in terms of environmental metrics, yet its other technical metrics, including the quality of its resultant materials, were reportedly lower. Glycolysis emerged as the best chemical recycling method for PET.

Source: Packaging Europe


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