Chemical Engineering and Industrial Chemistry

Expanding Plastics Recycling Technologies: Chemical Aspects, Technology Status and Challenges

Authors

  • Houqian Li Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • Horacio A. Aguirre-Villegas Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • Robert D. Allen Renewable Resources and Enabling Sciences Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, 80401, USA & BOTTLE Consortium, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, 80401, USA ,
  • Xianglan Bai Department of Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011, USA ,
  • Craig H. Benson Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • Gregg T. Beckham Renewable Resources and Enabling Sciences Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, 80401, USA & BOTTLE Consortium, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, 80401, USA ,
  • Sabrina L. Bradshaw Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • Jessica L. Brown Department of Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011, USA & Bioeconomy Institute, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011, USA ,
  • Robert C. Brown Department of Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011, USA & Bioeconomy Institute, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011, USA ,
  • Marco Antonio Sanchez Castillo Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí 78210, Mexico ,
  • Victor S. Cecon Polymer and Food Protection Consortium, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011, USA ,
  • Julia B. Curley Renewable Resources and Enabling Sciences Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, 80401, USA & BOTTLE Consortium, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, 80401, USA ,
  • Greg W. Curtzwiler Polymer and Food Protection Consortium, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011, USA ,
  • Son Dong Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706 USA ,
  • Soumika Gaddameedi Zoology and Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • John E. Garcia Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • Ive Hermans Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA & Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706 USA ,
  • Min Soo Kim Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • Jiaze Ma Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • Lesli O. Mark Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706 USA ,
  • Manos Mavrikakis Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • Olumide O. Olafasakin Department of Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011, USA ,
  • Tim A. Osswald Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • Kostas G. Papanikolaou Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • Harish Radhakrishnan Department of Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011, USA ,
  • Kevin L. Sánchez-Rivera Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • Khairun N. Tumu Polymer and Food Protection Consortium, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011, USA ,
  • Reid C. Van Lehn Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • Keith L. Vorst Polymer and Food Protection Consortium, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011, USA ,
  • Mark M. Wright Department of Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011, USA ,
  • Jiayang Wu Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • Victor M. Zavala Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • Panzheng Zhou Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA ,
  • George W. Huber Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA

Abstract

Less than 10% of the plastics generated globally are recycled, while the rest are incinerated, accumulated in landfills, or leach into the environment. New technologies are emerging to chemically recycle waste plastics that are receiving tremendous interest from academia and industry. Chemists and chemical engineers need to understand the fundamentals of these technologies to design improved systems for chemical recycling and upcycling of waste plastics. In this paper, we review the entire life cycle of plastics and options for the management of plastic waste to address barriers to industrial chemical recycling and further provide perceptions on possible opportunities with such materials. Knowledge and insights to enhance plastic recycling beyond its current scale are provided. Outstanding research problems and where researchers in the field should focus their efforts in the future are also discussed.

Version notes

A few sections/tables/figures have been removed or moved to Supplementary Information.

Content

Thumbnail image of Manuscript_revised_PlasticRev.pdf

Supplementary material

Thumbnail image of Supplementary Information_PlasticRev.pdf
Supplemental Information
Supplemental Informatiopn_Expanding Plastics Recycling Technologies: Chemical Aspects, Technology Status and Challenges