Plastics recycling
Overview and challenges

Plastics are widely used in a number of applications: packaging, building, vehicles, household appliances, agriculture, etc. The constant increase in their production goes hand in hand with a corresponding increase in the amount of plastic waste.

The environmental challenges associated with this waste, as well as society's expectations regarding its disposal, have a major impact on the global petrochemicals sector. More and more governments around the world are introducing legislation promoting the sorting and recycling of plastics. For example, the European Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive sets a plastic packaging recycling target of 55% by 2030, while France encourages recycling within the framework of particularly ambitious regulations aimed at promoting the circular economy. Accordingly, the mechanical and chemical recycling of plastics are set to play an increasingly important role.

There are a number of options when it comes to chemical recycling, which has the capacity to complement mechanical recycling by converting plastic waste into secondary raw materials. The latter are then reintroduced at various stages in the plastic production process within circuits of varying lengths. 

Within the framework of its “Climate, Environment and Circular Economy” strategic priority, IFPEN’s aim is to be present across the various chemical recycling loops via the development of sustainable technological solutions designed to convert plastic waste into high-quality recycled polymer materials.

Drawing on the pooled expertise of its partnerships, IFPEN develops proven and economically viable chemical recycling technologies in order to:
- be able to process almost all types of plastic, as a complement to mechanical recycling;
- provide industry with solutions to address society’s growing needs as regards the reduction in plastic waste in line with public policies relating to the circular economy.

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Abdelhakim Koudil

  • Program manager