Recycling innovation turns mixed waste into premium plastics with no climate impact
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have now demonstrated how the carbon atoms in mixed waste can replace all fossil raw materials in the production of new plastic. The recycling method is inspired by the natural carbon cycle and could eliminate the climate impact of plastic materials, or even clean the air of carbon dioxide.
“There are enough carbon atoms in waste to meet the needs of all global plastic production. Using these atoms, we can decouple new plastic products from the supply of virgin fossil raw materials. If the process is powered by renewable energy, we also get plastic products with more than 95% lower climate impact than those produced today, which effectively means negative emissions for the entire system,” says Henrik Thunman, Professor of Energy Technology at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and one of the authors of the study published in the Journal of Cleaner Production.