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Advanced/Chemical Recycling: Comparing Approaches in the U.S. and EU

According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), between the 1970s and the 1990s, plastic waste generation more than tripled, reflecting a similar rise in plastic production.[1] In fact, UNEP notes that in the early 2000s, the amount of plastic waste generated rose more in a single decade than it had in the previous 40 years. About 400 million tonnes of plastic waste is produced every year, and if historic growth trends continue, global production of primary plastic is forecasted to reach 1.1 billion tonnes by 2050.[2]

Approximately 36 percent of all plastics produced are used in packaging, including single-use plastic products for food and beverage containers, approximately 85 percent of which ends up in landfills or as unregulated waste.[3] Additionally, 98 percent of single-use plastic products are produced from fossil fuel, or “virgin” feedstock.

Moreover, the GHG emissions associated with the production, use and disposal of conventional fossil fuel-based plastics is forecast to grow to 19 percent of the entire global carbon budget by 2040.[4] Of the 7 billion tonnes of plastic waste generated globally so far, less than 10 percent has been recycled, according to UNEP.[5] The estimated annual loss in the value of plastic packaging waste during sorting and processing alone is US$ 80-120 billion, and it is estimated that 75 to 199 million tonnes of plastic is currently found in oceans.

Advanced or chemical recycling could be a solution to these issues, and there are several producers in the U.S. and EU that are planning to deploy the technology to produce fuels, including renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). This on-demand webinar reviews research from the June and July research reports and provides some fresh insights into the topic.

Advanced/Chemical Recycling: Comparing Approaches in the U.S. and EU


[1] United Nations Environment Program, Our Planet Is Choking on Plastic at (hereinafter “UNEP Plastics Webpage”).

[2] See UNEP Plastics Webpage.

[3] See UNEP Plastics Webpage.

[4] See UNEP Plastics Webpage.

[5] See UNEP Plastics Webpage citing From Pollution to Solution a Global Assessment of Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution, Feb. 22, 2022 at

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