Variations of LCA for chemical recycling

Main Presenter:    Dr. Bodo Müller 

Co-Authors:   Maike Horlacher     Dr. Christian Krüger                                          

Undeniably, plastics have brought us enormous societal benefits owing to their versatility, lightweight, durability and low costs. However, production and recycling also bring challenges, e.g., only 10 % of plastic waste is recycled globally. To increase recycling rates of mixed plastic waste, chemical recycling technologies can provide a complementary solution to mechanical recycling. BASF as a plastics manufacturer supports the recycling of plastic waste while at the same time aiming to reduce use of fossil resources at the beginning of chemical value chains.
To assess the most sustainable recycling technology, BASF wants to gain transparency about the environmental impacts of chemical recycling technologies. To get a broader picture, Sphera conducted a meta study analysis of multiple chemical recycling LCAs on behalf of BASF. The body of literature included LCA studies from different regions as well as from scientific institutions or industry publications since 2013. The study focused on pyrolysis technologies with mixed plastic waste as feedstock. Since then, BASF has continued to study the environmental impacts of chemical recycling in greater depth. It became obvious that results of LCA calculation are dependent on calculation methods for recycling. The conclusions of the examination will be discussed at the conference.

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