By Martyn Tickner, Chief Advisor of Project Development, Alliance to End Plastic Waste
In a previous article, we likened the roadmap of Unmanaged Waste to Circularity to a jigsaw puzzle; there are many different contributing pieces to the solution and they all have to be fitted together. You need an idea of the big picture in order to know how to place the individual pieces of the puzzle.
In our case, the big picture has many pieces—Reduce unnecessary consumption; Reuse where we can; Substitute materials with more sustainable options; put in place basic waste management systems with Collection & Disposal, Sorting, and Recycling; use Renewable Feedstocks where it makes sense; source Economic Interventions to fund solutions; adapt Consumer Behaviour to create good habits; and Clean-up to address the legacy. All these elements are part of the puzzle of building a successful circular economy.
Previously we talked about high-tech solutions for sorting of used plastic—the centre of our puzzle—choosing to focus on high-income, well-regulated, and strongly committed regions. From there we can explore different areas piece by piece, leading to a vision of the future—and the journey to get there.
Next up is Recycling.
Within the many different technologies that exist, Recycling is most often broadly grouped into either Mechanical Recycling or Chemical Recycling. However, rather than diving into technologies, let’s keep in mind the bigger picture and look at three different levels of recycling output quality.