Polymer Recycling Technologies 2020-2030
End of life options for plastic waste: tools, trends and markets.
The market for polymer recycling will reach $162 billion by 2030.
Developing sustainable technologies to create a circular economy for plastics has become increasingly important in industry over the past few years. Increasing customer awareness of the environmental impact of polymers with lifespans of several hundreds of years, as well as a global shift in attitudes towards carbon dioxide emissions from the use of petrochemicals to create new plastics, has resulted in renewed focus on polymer recycling and waste management technologies.
However, existing technologies have relied upon mechanically sorting and melting plastic waste, which frequently result in "down-cycling" of materials due to high levels of contamination. The issues with current recycling processes are so severe that countries like China who were previously mass importers of waste for recycling have closed their doors, throwing the world of recycling into chaos and driving Western nations to look for alternative technologies for recycling the growing mountain of plastic waste. Technologies such as thermal pyrolysis or catalytic depolymerisation could be part of the solution, allowing unrecyclable plastics to be converted into fuels and chemical feedstocks. But will these technologies ever be cheap or functional enough to become viable solutions?
Technology and applications
In 2020, the range of technologies to recycle polymer waste is growing rapidly. Polymer recycling technologies 2020-2030 takes an in-depth look into the diverse range of leading-edge companies developing new technologies to process polymer waste. In-depth assessments of the latest technologies are provided, with focus on chemical recycling, including depolymerisation, pyrolysis, gasification and solvent extraction. Furthermore, this report cuts through the marketing hype to offer a detailed insight into some of the foremost polymer recycling technology suppliers leading global innovation and bringing potentially disruptive products to market.
This report provides an overview of the technological advancements in polymer recycling to date, a comprehensive insight into the drivers and restraints affecting adoption and implementation at scale, and provides case studies and SWOT analyses for the most prolific disrupters developing novel polymer recycling technologies. IDTechEx conducted exhaustive primary research with companies across a range of industries developing polymer recycling technologies for key insights into the drivers and restraints affecting the growth of this technology.
Key questions answered in this report:
- Who are the key players developing new technologies for polymer recycling?
- What are the types of new technologies being developed?
- Which polymers are being actively targeted and why?
- How do new recycling technologies feed into the polymer value chain?
- What are the key drivers and restraints of market growth?
- How can mechanical recycling be disrupted by new polymer recycling technologies?
- How will revenues from new polymer recycling technologies evolve from 2020-2030?
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
- 1.1. What is the circular economy?
- 1.2. Awareness around single use plastic pollution
- 1.3. Global plastics production to pass 600 million tonnes by 2030
- 1.4. Historical management of Municipal Solid Waste
- 1.5. China's National Sword policy
- 1.6. Outlook for managing plastic waste in largest producers
- 1.7. What is solvent extraction?
- 1.8. Drivers and restraints
- 1.9. Conversion of plastics to fuels (PTF)
- 1.10. Drivers and restraints
- 1.11. Polymer to monomer and intermediate depolymerisation
- 1.12. Drivers and restraints
- 1.13. Global revenues from polymer recycling
- 1.14. What is the future for polymer recycling?
- 2.1. Plastic Waste
- 2.1.1. Social, economic and environmental megatrends
- 2.1.2. Reduced carbon dioxide emissions directives
- 2.1.3. What is the circular economy?
- 2.1.4. Global supply of plastics has grown exponentially
- 2.1.5. Awareness around single use plastic pollution
- 2.1.6. Global plastics production to pass 600 million tonnes by 2030
- 2.1.7. Historical management of municipal solid waste
- 2.1.8. The top 10 global recyclers of municipal solid waste (MSW)
- 2.1.9. Plastic recycling is lagging behind
- 2.1.10. Global plastic waste by disposal type
- 2.1.11. China's National Sword policy
- 2.1.12. The consequences of the National Sword policy
- 2.1.13. Plastic recycling varies by polymer type
- 2.1.14. Polymer types: thermoplastics, thermosets and elastomers
- 2.1.15. Why are plastic recycling rates so low?
- 2.1.16. Outlook for managing plastic waste in largest producers
- 2.2. Biobased and biodegradable polymers
- 2.2.1. The range of available biobased monomers
- 2.2.2. Defining "biobased polymers"
- 2.2.3. Biobased polymers and waste management in 2020
- 2.2.4. Are biodegradable plastics the solution?
- 2.2.5. Biobased value add: The Green Premium...
- 2.2.6. ...versus the price of Brent Crude
- 2.2.7. Environmental costs: the rising tide of plastic pollution
- 2.2.8. Feedstock competition: food or fuel (or plastics)?
- 2.2.9. Drivers and restraints of market growth
- 2.2.10. Relevant IDTechEx research
3. RECYCLING TECHNOLOGIES OVERVIEW
- 3.1. Polymer recycling processes
- 3.1.1. Recycling collection methods and facilities
- 3.1.2. Single vs multiple stream recycling
- 3.1.3. The four types of recycling: process definitions
- 3.1.4. Opportunities for recycling in the polymer value chain
- 3.2. Recycling key polymers
- 3.2.1. Recycling key polymer types
- 3.2.2. Recycling PET
- 3.2.3. Technology suppliers for PET recycling in this report
- 3.2.4. Recycling PE
- 3.2.5. Technology suppliers for PE recycling in this report
- 3.2.6. Recycling PP
- 3.2.7. Technology suppliers for PP recycling in this report
- 3.2.8. Recycling PS
- 3.2.9. Technology suppliers for PS recycling in this report
4. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY RECYCLING
- 4.1. Mechanical recycling
- 4.1.1. Primary mechanical recycling
- 4.1.2. Secondary mechanical recycling: collection
- 4.1.3. Secondary mechanical recycling: decontamination
- 4.1.4. Secondary mechanical recycling: melt and extrusion
- 4.1.5. Invisible barcodes to improve plastic recycling
- 4.1.6. Recycled polymers in the food industry
- 4.1.7. The problem of downcycling
- 4.1.8. Drivers and restraints of secondary mechanical recycling
- 4.2. Solvent extraction
- 4.2.1. What is solvent extraction?
- 4.2.2. VinyLoop- PVC: a warning case study
- 4.2.3. Technology suppliers
- 4.2.4. APK
- 4.2.5. Polystyvert
- 4.2.6. Purecycle Technologies
- 4.2.7. Worn Again
- 4.2.8. Drivers and restraints
5. TERTIARY RECYCLING
- 5.1. Plastic to fuel conversion
- 5.1.1. Conversion of plastics to fuels (PTF)
- 5.1.2. Conversion of plastics to fuels (PTF)
- 5.1.3. Incineration, gasification or thermal pyrolysis?
- 5.1.4. Typical outputs of plastic to fuel processes
- 5.1.5. Pyrolysis of plastic waste
- 5.1.6. Pyrolysis of plastic waste - process diagram
- 5.1.7. Advantages and challenges in plastic pyrolysis
- 5.1.8. Size limitations
- 5.1.9. Hydrogen deficiency
- 5.1.10. Contamination
- 5.1.11. The impact of contamination
- 5.1.12. Gasification of plastic waste
- 5.1.13. Challenges in gasification
- 5.1.14. Options for syngas from gasification
- 5.1.15. Feedstock materials for PTF conversion
- 5.1.16. PTF conversion outputs and side products
- 5.1.17. A comparison of plastic to fuel techniques
- 5.1.18. The environmental impact of plastic to fuel conversion
- 5.1.19. Technology suppliers
- 5.1.20. Agile Process Chemicals LLP
- 5.1.21. Agilyx
- 5.1.22. Enerkem
- 5.1.23. Enval
- 5.1.24. Fulcrum Bioenergy
- 5.1.25. Klean Industries
- 5.1.26. Plastic2Oil
- 5.1.27. PlasticEnergy
- 5.1.28. Nexus Fuels
- 5.1.29. Recycling Technologies
- 5.1.30. Drivers and restraints
- 5.2. Depolymerisation
- 5.2.1. Polymer to monomer and intermediate depolymerisation
- 5.2.2. Depolymerisation of PET
- 5.2.3. Depolymerisation of polystyrene
- 5.2.4. Depolymerisation of polyolefins
- 5.2.5. Depolymerisation of biodegradable polymers
- 5.2.6. Technology suppliers by feedstock
- 5.2.7. Agilyx
- 5.2.8. Ambercycle
- 5.2.9. Aquafil
- 5.2.10. BioCellection
- 5.2.11. Carbios
- 5.2.12. Garbo
- 5.2.13. Gr3n
- 5.2.14. Ioniqa
- 5.2.15. Jeplan
- 5.2.16. Loop Industries
- 5.2.17. Natureworks
- 5.2.18. Pyrowave
- 5.2.19. Drivers and restraints
6. QUATERNARY RECYCLING
- 6.1. Waste to energy: polymer incineration
- 6.2. MSW versus coal, oil and gas comparison
- 6.3. Incineration competing with landfill and recycling
- 6.4. Incineration uptake: USA versus Europe
- 6.5. Debate surrounding incineration
7. MARKET FORECASTS AND CONCLUSIONS
- 7.1. How oil prices affect plastic recycling
- 7.2. Breakeven price point for mechanical recycling
- 7.3. Breakeven for solvent extraction
- 7.4. Breakeven for plastic to fuel conversion
- 7.5. Breakeven for depolymerisation
- 7.6. Global revenues from polymer recycling
- 7.7. Could regulations spur things on?
- 7.8. What is the future for polymer recycling?
8. APPENDIX: GLOSSARY AND DEFINITIONS
- 8.1. Glossary: common acronyms for reference
- 8.2. Key terms and definitions