US recycling trade association ISRI has set out a position statement on plastic chemical recycling and said that using it to create energy and fuels is not recycling.
However, non-mechanical processes that convert plastics into recycled resins and monomers would be considered recycling as they are producing materials “in lieu of virgin materials as feedstock in the manufacture of material products and not in the production of energy and fuels”.
In the statement, ISRI also added that it did not support the term ‘advanced recycling’. This is because it creates “a totally inappropriate and untruthful distinction between mechanical and non-mechanical processes”.
It noted that innovation in mechanical processes included use of robotics, artificial intelligence, optical scanners, laser separation and other technologies. Therefore, it was wrong to suggest that chemical recycling was more advanced than mechanical recycling, it said.
The position paper can be viewed here.