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From trash to treasure: transforming waste plastics back into raw materials

In Europe, yearly about 26 million tonnes of plastics is disposed as waste. To align with European and Flemish goals new recycling methods are required. For the plastics to chemicals project, our client Indaver, together with the universities of Ghent and Antwerp, developed an innovative process to convert end-of-life waste plastics back into raw materials for the chemical industry. 

These are the plastics that have long been deemed unfit for traditional mechanical recycling methods. To make that happen they’ve developed a depolymerization process. 

A leap in recycling rates

Imagine saving 3.5 tonnes of plastic waste every hour—the equivalent weight of an adult orca. This is the potential of the innovative process introduced by Indaver, which breaks down complex plastic materials into shorter hydrocarbon chains. These chains then serve as a valuable resource for the chemical industry, effectively turning waste into wealth.

With this plastics to chemicals project we can save 3.5 tonnes of plastic waste per hour – that’s a size of an orca!

The circular economy in action

This depolymerization technique is more than just recycling—it’s a critical shift in our approach to plastic waste. By unlocking the value in what was once trash, we decrease our dependence on oil and take a significant step towards solving the global plastic crisis.  

Here, waste is not an endpoint but a starting block for new resources. It’s initiatives like these that demonstrate how even the most substantial sectors can contribute to a more sustainable future, reducing waste and embracing a circular approach to industry. 

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