Review and recommendations for sustainable pathways of recycling commodity plastic waste across different economic regions

Charles Darko, Plisylia Wong Shi Yung, Anlong Chen, Adolf Acquaye

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    14 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Commodity plastics such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are some of the common plastic wastes found in municipal wastes. Lack of technology, resources, coherent programs, policies, mismanagement and incomplete processing of these plastics, results in these plastics mostly ending up in landfills. Adopting a qualitative research approach, the paper reviewed PE, PP and PET recycling waste management processes from selected developed and developing countries. It was found that chemical recycling in terms of catalytic cracking followed by pyrolysis technologies are more suitable for producing higher liquid oils whiles gasification improves fuel gas yield. Given that mechanical recycling requires less capital and resources, it is a more suitable waste management option for plastic products in developing countries. In cases where there are complex separation issues, incineration for energy recovery is appropriate but it should be used with end-of-pipe treatment solutions to mitigate against the environmental impact of incineration. The paper further highlights various opportunities and challenges involved with PE, PP and PET plastic waste treatment pathway, the appropriate yields obtained for each technique and where adaptation can be made.

    Original languageBritish English
    Article number100134
    JournalResources, Environment and Sustainability
    Volume14
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 2023

    Keywords

    • Catalytic cracking
    • Country differences
    • Gasification
    • Incineration
    • Mechanical recycling
    • Plastic recycling
    • Pyrolysis
    • Waste management

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