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Polymer Recycling and Reuse Save Carbon dioxide and Other GHG

SpecialChem / Apr 24, 2009

End-of-life wastes, several hundred of thousand tonnes a day, must be considered as a plastics mine needing new views on collection, recycling and reprocessing. A careful selection of sources, a suitable method of treatment save fossil fuels, raw materials, energy, and substantially reduce emitted carbon dioxide (CO2). Environmental advantages are combined with cost savings as far as prices of virgin resins are soaring. The carbon footprint isn't an intrinsic characteristic of a polymer but depends on the actual processing, transports, use, energy sources, recycling routes, level of recycled and virgin materials. Consequently data can dramatically differ according to the sources for a same polymer. For example a production of 1tonne PVC emits 1.6 up to 2.5tonne CO2. Recycling and reuse of commodity such as polyethylene, PVC, styrenics, and engineering plastics from polypropylene and thermoplastic polyester up to polyamide lead to an average CO2 saving of 50% with contrasted situations depending on the waste sources and re-use levels.

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