The Basics of Advanced Recycling: The Next Step in Plastic Packaging Waste Management

The call for a circular economy grows around the world, including a strong push from a large group of stakeholders to solve the issues with plastic packaging waste. This has become a priority for the entire plastic packaging value chain. As mechanical recycling has many limitations, advanced recycling, or chemical recycling, has been touted as a promising solution to drastically increase recycling rates of plastic packaging waste. But, is advanced recycling really the silver bullet to the plastic packaging waste problem?


Report summary

“We believe that advanced recycling could complement existing recycling methods and help increase global recycling rates, accelerating the transition toward a circular economy. We also note that investments into advanced recycling are ramping up, fueled by the launch of a huge number of coalitions, bringing together stakeholders from across the value chain,” according to Shreynal Satyajit, Analyst – F&A Supply Chains.

However, advanced recycling technologies are at a very early stage of development, and there are still unresolved questions, for example about their environmental impact and financial viability, that need to be addressed. Therefore, we expect that it will take several years before we know the winning technologies and whether advanced recycling capacity can really scale up.

Daniël Poolen, Rabobank Sustainability Researcher, contributed to this publication.