According to a European directive, 55% of plastic packaging material must be recycled by 2030. In the Port of Antwerp, waste processing company Indaver has already started construction of an installation for the chemical recycling of plastics, primarily composed of polystyrene or polyolefins, using a thermochemical process.
Flemish Government and universities
The Flemish government is particularly ambitious when it comes to recycling, and is supporting this €100 million project with €7 million from the cabinet of Minister for Innovation Jo Brouns, and another €3 million from the Flemish Recycling Hub. Flemish universities also actively participated in the research into setting up this chemical recycling process.
Lower CO2 emissions
This chemical recycling process is a complement to mechanical recycling, which unfortunately cannot recycle all plastic waste. Via the thermochemical process, basic raw materials are recovered which are just as good as the materials currently used from fossil sources to manufacture plastics. An important aspect in this regard is that the new plastic is also suitable for plastic food packaging. At the European level, a proposal has been finalised in which it is stipulated that 30% of plastic packaging must consist of recycled materials by 2030. Furthermore, recycling polystyrene and polyolefins significantly reduces CO2 emissions.
From 26,000 to 65,000 tonnes of plastic waste
In the first phase, Indaver's installation on the Linkeroever (Left Bank) in the Port of Antwerp will recycle around 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste. In a second phase, the plant will be converted into a dedicated polystyrene plant and expanded with an additional line to process up to 65,000 tonnes of plastics per year. "With this industrial scale-up, we are building Europe’s largest recycling plant for depolymerisation of polystyrene in Europe and will be able to provide high-quality recycling of 50% of Europe's polystyrene household waste packaging," according to the press release.