Chemical recycling is an emerging sector developing innovative technologies that turn plastic waste into base chemicals, monomers and feedstocks.
These technologies provide additional options to mechanical recycling and can significantly increase recycling capacity, contributing to solving a global plastic pollution crisis.
What is chemical recycling? What is feedstock recycling?
Chemical recycling is an umbrella term that includes feedstock recycling, depolymerisation and purification.
Our patented technology is classified as feedstock recycling and uses thermal cracking to process residual plastic waste into a liquid hydrocarbon feedstock for use in the manufacturing of new polymers. Our branded RT7000 machine produces an oil called Plaxx®.
McKinsey & Company has predicted that chemical recycling will contribute to a 60 billion USD growth in the profit pool of the petrochemical and plastics sectors between 2016 and 2030.
In collaboration with British Plastics Federation, our team wrote ‘Chemical Recycling 101’ to help learn more about this new developing sector and technologies.
Introducing the RT7000
The RT7000 is our proprietary technology which transforms plastic waste into chemical feedstock for plastic production. The machine uses a process called thermal cracking which breaks down the long chains of polymers into shorter chains through the use of heat in the absence of oxygen.
The RT7000 can process most types of plastics that are not routinely recycled, such as:
- soft and flexible packaging (e.g. films)
- multi-layered and laminated plastics (e.g. crisp packets)
- complex or even contaminated plastic (e.g. food trays)
This is a far wider variety of plastics than can be recycled through current methods.
The RT7000 is compact and modular, allowing for easy transportation in standard 20' ISO freight frames and quick onsite installation.
Our technology is built to integrate with existing mechanical recycling infrastructure to increase the overall recycling capacity of both methods. The RT7000 is designed to bring the solution to the problem, avoiding unnecessary transportation of plastic waste and associated carbon emissions.
The output of the RT7000 is Plaxx®
Plaxx is a liquid hydrocarbon feedstock that is produced from the waste plastic processed through the RT7000. It is a valuable chemical feedstock which, after refinement, can be used in the manufacturing of new virgin quality plastic.
Plaxx is not intended for use as fuel. It is a valuable building block in the circular economy and the plastics value chain, providing post-consumer recycled content for new plastic products in line with governmental targets.
Plaxx is a critical feedstock needed for a circular plastics economy
Our demonstration plant
The demonstration plant is a testing facility based at Swindon Borough Council's recycling facility, where it has been operating since 2018.
This facility allows us to run trials on different types of input materials and to test technological upgrades before application onto our commercial-scale unit.
Our commercial-scale plant
The first RT7000 commercial-scale unit will be installed at Binn Eco Park in Perth, Scotland. This is a collaboration with Binn Group and Zero Waste Scotland.
It is also part of a wider project called Project Beacon which has the aim of creating the world's first advanced Plastics Reprocessing Facility (a-PRF) through the integration of state-of-the-art technologies with established infrastructure.
Lead by the French compliance body, Citeo, Project Fuscia is a first of its kind consortium project trialling the technical and economic feasibility of recycling complex plastic waste in France. The consortium brings together major players across the plastics value chain, including Total, Nestlé and Mars, with Recycling Technologies as the technology provider.
In 2016 we collaborated with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on a multi-partner initiative, Project Lodestar, which conceptualised an advanced Plastics Recycling Facility (a-PRF). It combined mechanical recycling with chemical (feedstock) recycling and found that this could increase the rate of plastics kept in circulation, diverting them away from waste while bringing economic advantages over landfilling and incineration.