Individual recycling is getting increasingly important in the chemical industry
Our society is becoming increasingly aware of global warming. Apart from people, more and more organizations express their worries for the Earth’s health. This includes political organs, companies and non-profit organizations. Through this awareness, many initiatives concerning the recycling of plastics have already sprouted. It has become a trending topic. One reason for this is that plastic is dumped on the streets all too often. This results in a lot of pollution, which has negative effects for animals, people, the climate and, eventually, the economy.
The economy: from linear to circular
In 2017, a staggering 348 million tons of plastic was produced worldwide, with a yearly increase of 3-4 percent. From this amount, 27,1 tons of plastic was collected, of which only 31% was recycled. This is expressed in figures from PlasticsEurope Market Research Group.
It is vital to act now in order to realize a shift from linear to circular economics. Next to other stakeholders, the chemical industry plays a big part in realizing this change. They are important in the sense that they have to ‘revive’ plastic. Currently, the chemical industry is working diligently on applying several innovative chemical techniques to the recycling of plastics.
Cradle to cradle recycling
Recycling plastics involve three cradle to cradle methods: mechanical, chemical and thermal recycling. These methods can give plastics a second life, fostering a linear economy. The mechanical method of recycling is mainly applied to plastic water bottles, giving them a new purpose. The chemical method goes a step beyond and can reduce plastics to its original form, such as polymers, monomers or atoms. With the thermal recycle method, plastic is incinerated, returning 80% of the organic petroleum for future uses.
No initiative, no result
These new recycling techniques are most definitely a solution for reducing intensive use of raw materials. Although it is not yet confirmed that these methods are the solution to reducing global warming, we must bear in mind that it all starts with the individual. Without taking initiative, there will not be any result.
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