Chemical recycling, globally recognised Belgian expertise
Belgium's ambition to be a pioneer in the field of plastic waste recycling knows no borders. The world premiere of the environmental technology company Indaver, with the chemical recycling of yoghurt pots, among other objects, is a striking example of this.
Most of the approximately 30 million tonnes of plastic waste that Europe produces each year ends up in landfills or incinerators. This is not really an ecological solution. Mechanical recycling can only give a new life to a tiny fraction of this type of waste. After cutting and washing, the waste is melted into usable plastic pellets, but due to the presence of contaminants, these pellets are of poor quality and only suitable for low-grade applications. So we must do better!
And things can be better, thanks to the chemical recycling process devised by Indaver. In the same way that a Lego house is dismantled brick by brick, the company can cut polystyrene from yoghurt pots, meat trays, other plastic packaging and polystyrene collected from container parks into its basic components. New high-quality products can then be manufactured from these fully purified blocks, one by one.
A new plant in Antwerp will be ready for this circular economy project by 2024. The objective is to process no fewer than 65,000 tonnes of polystyrene per year, including polystyrene from abroad. The aim is to put Belgium firmly on the map as a high-tech recycling centre. And we are on the right track.