The predictions for plastic waste are bleak. According to ‘The New Plastics Economy’ published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2016, it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans.
Ravish Jain, Commercial Operations Manager, Recycling Technologies, attended the Unreasonable Impact World Forum to outline a solution to the global challenge of plastic waste. Recycling Technologies is one of only 35 global participants of the Unreasonable Impact business accelerator programme, created with Barclays to recognise those early-stage businesses that are scalable and will become the big employers of the future.
Globally, only 10% of plastics are recycled at the end of their life. The rest, 90%, is either discarded in landfill, incinerated or lost in the natural environment. Despite continuous advancement in mechanical technologies to recycle mainly high-value PET and HDPE, many end-of-life plastics are resolutely considered ‘unrecyclable’ – films, tubs, pots, black plastics, contaminated plastics, and laminated and composite plastic.
Recycling Technologies has developed the RT7000, a chemical technology to recycle these intractable plastics back into the oil it originally came from. Called Plaxx®, this oil can be used by manufacturers to make more plastics and in so doing propel plastics into the circular economy.
The RT7000 chemical recycling unit is housed in five ISO freight containers, is mass-producible and modular. Easily transportable, the company can take the solution to the problem, anywhere in the world. With continuous trials at their Swindon based pilot plant, Recycling Technologies will be operating their first commercial RT7000 in Scotland by the end of 2018.
When it comes to impact, Ravish explains Recycling Technologies’ goal “ The company has a goal to create the capacity to make 7 million tonnes of Plaxx® by 2027, that’s equalling the entire plastics recycling capacity in EU today. To reach this we will need to manufacture 200 RT7000 machines a year, creating over 10k jobs. To solve the global plastics waste problem we need a fleet of 40,000 machines dotted across the globe; our goal is just the start.”
No wonder Recycling Technologies caught the attention of Unreasonable Impact, not only as worldwide job creators but because chemical technology enables virtually all plastic to be recycled and offers hope for our oceans. Ravish concludes “Recycling Technologies wants to be the fish that eats the plastics; we want to be present in every city, near every beach, river and sea and ocean, converting plastics back to oil.”
See the recorded video here.