Recycling Chemicals: What It Is and How It Works

Plastic is a material that is hard to decompose. Much of the plastic becomes litter that ends up in landfills. In 2018, data showed that 27 million tons of plastic went to landfills.

Plastic that doesn’t end up in landfills can end up in oceans and other waterways. Plastic that makes its way to the oceans can kill off animals that mistake it for food.

To prevent plastic waste buildup in landfills, people must recycle the chemicals that makeup plastic. Recycling chemicals is a goal that every person should consider.

This guide will explain what chemical recycling is and how it works.

What is Chemical Recycling

Are you wondering what chemical recycling is? Chemical recycling, or advanced recycling, is gaining a lot of popularity in recycling and sustainability. This type of recycling is a process that involves reducing a polymer to the original monomer form.

Plastics are polymers. The production of plastics is part of a process called polymerization. Through this process, monomers are linked together. What results is a long polymer chain.

The process of chemical recycling targets the polymer. When it’s reduced to the original monomer form, the polymer can be processed. The goal is to remake the plastic into new plastic materials.

This is great news for the environment because the plastic polymers will get a new life. Much more use can come from the new plastic materials.

How It Works

Plastic has a problem. It’s hard to get rid of. The solution comes in the form of chemical recycling. This innovative process serves as an alternative to traditional mechanical recycling methods.

Plastics that aren’t unsuited to the older methods can go through chemical recycling to recover them. This process can vary. The most common process focuses on chopping up the plastic and treating it with a combination of chemicals.

Water and enzymes or catalysts are part of the treatment. Heat and pressure are also used in the treatment process. Then the chemicals undergo a process called repolymerization.

The result is a new product. The product may be the fuel that goes into the refinement of diesel fuel, gasoline, heating oil, or waxes. Resins can also be produced. In most cases, the outcome is raw materials that will be used to make other products.

Chemical Recycling Needs to Catch On

Despite being a process that is helping to change the world, chemical recycling needs to catch on more.

Formulated consumer products that manufacturers make via the chemical recycling process comply with Prop 65. The public needs more information about this process.

Recycling Chemicals: The Future is Here

This recycling process allows for the plastic polymers to be turned back into the original molecules.

Recycling chemicals is a great way to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills. New products come out from recycled plastic.

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