New Video Shatters Myths of “Chemical Recycling”

The Global Anti Incineration Alliance (GAIA), Zero Waste Europe, and Changing Markets Foundation have produced a 2-minute animated video that critiques the process known as “chemical recycling.” Called “5 THINGS plastics producers don’t want you to know about chemical recycling,” the video provides important information for public awareness and discussion about this deeply flawed process.

Key takeaways from the video include:

  • This technology has been around since the 1950s and it has yet to be perfected.
  • The technology uses a lot of energy for little output.
  • The technology is a poor investment — over $2 billion has been invested in failed or cancelled plants.
  • The myth of this technology would help to prop up continued production of plastics in a throwaway economy.
  • The technology adds to pollution and climate warming.
  • Promoters of this technology are large energy, plastic and consumer brand name companies.

Rather than invest in chemical recycling, GAIA and Zero Waste Europe suggest:

  • Invest in conventional recycling, composting and reuse/refillable
  • Reduce plastic production
  • Improve collection systems.
  • Hold the companies that promote the false solution of chemical recycling accountable with robust new rules.

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Photo credit: Photo by tanvi sharma on Unsplash

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Neil Seldman

Neil Seldman, Ph.D, directs the Waste to Wealth Initiative. He specializes in helping cities and businesses recover increasing amounts of materials from the waste stream and add value to the local economy through new processing and manufacturing facilities. He is a co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.