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Advanced recycling: Plastic crisis solution or distraction?

Jennifer McDermott of AP News reports on advanced plastic recycling.

The C3 Take
  • Chemical recycling is gaining momentum as a potential solution for plastic waste.
  • Chemical recycling involves using heat or chemical solvents to break down plastics into liquid and gas, which are then repurposed to make other plastics.
  • The largest chemical recycling plant in the U.S. is located in Ohio but Exxon Mobil, New Hope Energy, and Nexus Circular have all announced that they are planning to build large plastic recycling plants.
  • While some environmentalists see this as a positive step, others believe it to be greenwashing.

“The Ohio facility typically takes in 40 tons to 50 tons per day, heating and liquifying the plastic to turn it back into an oil or hydrocarbon liquid, about 10,000 gallons to 12,000 gallons daily. About 75% of what comes into the facility can be liquified like that. Another 15% is turned into a synthetic natural gas to heat the process, while the remainder — paper, metals, dyes, inks and colorants — exit the reactor as a byproduct, or carbon char, DeBenedictis said. The char is disposed of as nonhazardous waste, though in the future some hope to sell it to the asphalt industry.”

Read more here.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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