Mechanical and chemical recycling


Together instead of against each other

The industry is currently discussing about the advantages and disadvantages of mechanical and chemical recycling. In many places, a confrontational and competitive course is emerging between the two approaches. We think this discourse is wrong. We believe that both approaches can and must function side by side. After all, it is about achieving recycling goals as a society, and for this, every functioning technology must be included in a modern circular economy.

Promote complementary potential

The chemical industry often refers to the new recycling opportunities that chemical recycling can offer. We tend to always be in favour of looking at new approaches, technologies or processes and invest in further development. Both, mechanical and chemical recycling, are part of the circular economy. Both will have to move forward massively. Currently, very creative and innovative work is being done worldwide on this development and intensive investments are being made.

Especially in the area of food and personal care products, mechanical recycling – outside of closed deposit systems – is not able to close the material cycle in a correspondingly high quality yet. With regard to these products alone, it is important that new technologies become established. We are confident that in a few years, very mature technologies will be launched on the market that can make a massive contribution to implementing high-quality recycling.

We follow the developments of various technologies very closely and intensively. In the near future, chemical recycling processes will certainly have the potential to complement the mechanical recycling of plastics in Europe as well. We know that in North and South America – where, by the way, chemical recycling is called “advanced recycling” – existing state-of-the-art plants are already in operation. In the European countries of Great Britain and France, chemical recycling plants are already in operation or will soon be able to start operations as well. We are therefore optimistic about the future of the European circular economy.

We need a future-oriented coexistence

We think that in the current state of our circular economy it is crucial to not think in different camps. Our goal must always be to have the best solution in mind for the further optimisation of our system and our processes.

And for this, it is absolutely necessary to promote both approaches by putting the concentrated innovative power into the further development of both technologies in a cooperative effort.

Only in this way we will achieve our recycling and environmental goals in the long run and close material loops. Politics, society and industry must finally make a clear commitment to these goals. Innovative strength is always associated with investments.

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