Chemical recycling has received a lot of attention recently, especially in the context of a solution to increase the circularity of hard-to-recycle plastics. At the same time, there are significant concerns, challenges, and uncertainty surrounding these technologies and their role in sustainability.
The landscape of chemical recycling technologies is complex. Also known as advanced recycling, feedstock recycling, or transformative technologies, this sector encompasses a wide variety of processes that break down waste material into new feedstocks. For many in the packaging industry, the potential applications of these new technologies and their relevance towards packaging can be unclear. Confusion also exists surrounding the action and effort needed throughout the supply chain to aid in scaling these technologies, from collection of hard-to-recycle materials to end market application of the recycled feedstocks.
In July, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) dedicated an entire day of SPC Engage 2021 to the theme of Bringing Down Barriers to Advance Chemical Recycling. These sessions helped to provide context and clarity to this diverse sector, but also proved that much more discussion and collaboration is necessary.
To build on this conversation, the SPC is excited to announce the launch of the Chemical Recycling Collaborative. This year-long initiative will focus on exploring the landscape of chemical recycling technologies and the role that they may play in packaging sustainability. The Collaborative will explore key topics, such as appropriate feedstocks and applications, environmental and human health impacts, current legislation and policy impacts, and more.
Through a multi-stakeholder approach, the Chemical Recycling Collaborative will explore the diverse technologies and identify the opportunities and challenges of chemical recycling throughout the value chain. The work will include stakeholder discussions on critical topics to better understand the range of perspectives and develop informed positions, with the aim of working towards a framework for accelerating chemical recycling technologies that contribute to sustainable packaging systems.
The year-long initiative will serve as a first step in identifying gaps within this space and determining what further action is needed. The Collaborative will take a broad and comprehensive approach, examining chemical recycling considerations throughout the lifecycle of packaging, and the impact on all stakeholders involved. This approach will enable the group to identify areas of relevance to various value chain levels, leading members towards a deeper understanding of their role in accelerating safe and effective solutions.
For more information on the group, visit the SPC Chemical Recycling Collaborative website. If interested in joining, contact Karen Hagerman, Senior Manager, SPC Collaboratives, at email@example.com.