Monitoring chemical recycling. How to include chemical recycling in plastic recycling monitoring?

The Netherlands aim to cover 40% of its plastics demand with recycled material by 2030. The current recycled content of plastics is 9%. The increase in plastics recycling is expected to come primarily from mechanical recycling. However, a considerable contribution is also expected from new (‘chemical’) recycling technologies.

These new technologies are more complex and can be more integrated in chemical production sites. It is therefore less obvious how their recycling performance can be monitored. The Dutch Ministry of Environment has requested CE Delft to investigate how chemical recycling can be integrated in existing monitoring systems for recycling.

This study shows that the yield of chemical recycling technologies can be calculated similarly to how the yield of mechanical recycling is calculated. While chemical recycling technologies are more complicated and typically involve more process steps to produce recycled plastics than mechanical recycling, the same main principles can be used.

An important result of the study are the eleven case studies carried out with chemical companies to determine the plastic-to-plastic yields for different chemical recycling technologies.