Also known as resin recycling, chemical recycling is the return of plastic (polymer) to its primary composition (monomer) through chemical change. This process allows the previously unusable material to be transformed into raw material for re-use in the manufacture of new primary plastic packaging or other materials.
To undergo chemical recycling, plastic can be dissolved with the addition of other solvent substances or with the application of heat. This type of recycling can also be called tertiary recycling. The processes that break polymers into monomers are diverse, among them, we can mention: Hydrogenation, gasification, pyrolysis and chemolysis.
Chemical recycling is beneficial for the environment, as it has reduced the energy expenditure used to make the objects to be used and prevents the accumulation of waste, not only by reducing new waste, but also by preventing new materials from being produced, generating new waste, pollutants and greater consumption of natural resources.
With respect to other forms of recycling, chemical recycling is advantageous in that it allows different types of plastics with different types of contaminants to be mixed in the same process as inks and papers. In addition, it reduces the cost of pretreatment, collection and selection, and enables the production of new plastics of the same quality as the original polymer.