Save us “Chemical Recycling” Man! Oh wait…you can’t!

Meet “Chemical Recycling” Man. Not your run-of-the-mill comic book superhero. This one is propped up by the petrochemical industries.

These industries like to claim that chemical recycling will create “virgin-like” quality plastic. But beware – this isn’t true! Because of low oil yields and contamination, pyrolysis oil must be diluted by a mixture made up of crude oil, derived from fossil fuel (in some cases by a ratio of over 40:1!). Chemical recycling treatment cannot process the diversity of post-consumer plastic waste.

In this handy infographic, developed from Zero Waste Europe’s Leaky Loop ‘Recycling’ report, we visualise the weakness of “chemical recycling” as a method of recycling by personifying “Chemical Recycling” as an arrogant superhero who thinks they can save us all, only to meet their ‘kryptonite’ through the demands of the public for virgin-like quality.

A Plastic Pollution Free EU – Plastics and the EU elections

The EU elections will largely determine what guides EU politics and laws for the next five years. Even though plastic is driving some of the dominating issues of this election, there is a great danger that it will be pushed off the agenda – that’s rubbish! We need decisionmakers who will strive to reduce plastic production, support reuse, eliminate toxic chemicals, and deliver real solutions to the plastic pollution crisis to protect us and future generations.

Plastics’ injustice. A just transition to address an unjust pollution

Plastic proliferation and pollution fuel the triple planetary crisis: climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. They impact us all, but not equally; thus they exacerbate injustice. A just transition, commonly described as ensuring that the much needed green transition is happening in a fair and inclusive way and leaves no one behind, can both put an end to plastic pollution, guarantee human rights and bring social benefits.

Plastics And Climate. Carbon bombing through and through

Treating plastic waste is an energy-intensive process, creating 193 Mt CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year. That’s more than the annual emissions of two Belgiums! These emissions are projected to increase despite improvements in waste management. But plastics don’t only create emissions at the end of their life. Plastic is created from oil and gas and 90% of GHG emissions actually occur at the production stage.

Plastics and Nature entwined. How plastic pollution drives biodiversity loss

Did you know that there is even a new disease impacting seabirds ingesting plastic that has been evidenced and named “Plasticosis”? That is how severe plastic impacts on biodiversity are! It is estimated that close to 2800 different marine species, such as turtles, seabirds, fish, marine mammals and coral reefs, are known to interact with plastic debris, often becoming entangled, trapped or suffocated by it.