The Chemical Recycling Posse: The Good, the Bad, and the Lucky

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Chemical recycling (aka advanced recycling) of waste plastics continues to struggle, and few of the 35 or so companies involved in this technology are actually making and selling the products they promised. Considering the number of patents — and there are hundreds of them that date back some 30 years — for processes such as pyrolysis and converting polymers back to monomers to use as feedstock for new plastics, it amazes me that many of these companies don’t have much to show in the way of actual products. I have discovered a couple of chemical recycling success stories, however. New Hope Energy’s Trinity Oaks plant in Tyler, TX, is operating 24/7 as it sells its products to customers that include Chevron Phillips, which is hooking up with many of the waste-to-fuel companies to bolster its sustainability goals. As PlasticsToday reported a few months ago, New Hope’s biggest problem is meeting demand. The demand for solutions to the plastic waste problem is creating a shortage of technology to deal with it.

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