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Polymer waste recycling over “used” catalysts

Posted on October 28th, 2015 by in Chemical Manufacturing Excellence



Plastics are among the best ‘fruits’ of the chemical process industry and are used extensively in our lives. Unfortunately, every year, the UK produces 29 million metric tons of municipal waste and in 1999, 4 million metric tons of plastic packaging and 2 million mertic tons of plastic were landfilled. Learn the different ways that Municipal and industrial plastic wastes are treated here.

Landfill treatment and incineration of plastic waste are less desirable due to high cost, poor biodegradability and the possibility of unacceptable emissions. True material recycling (the conversion of scrap polymer into new products) is a popular recovery path but the recycled plastic product often costs more than virgin plastic.

An alternative strategy is that of chemical recycling, which has attracted much interest recently  and with the aim of converting waste polymers into basic petrochemicals to be used as feedstock or fuel for a variety of downstream processes. Two main chemical recycling routes are the thermal and catalytic degradation of waste plastics. In thermal degradation, the process produces a broad product range and requires high operating temperatures, typically more than 500 °C and even up to 900 °C. On the other hand, catalytic degradation might provide a solution to these problems by controlling the product distribution and reducing the reaction temperature.

Learn how to evaluate “used” fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysts and for the recycling of polymer wastes and compare the economics of the process with current process technology here.

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