Chemical recycling – a means of choice?

Chemical recycling – a means of choice?

Newsletter 02/2021

© Fraunhofer CCPE

Chemical recycling can also be used to recycle heterogeneous or contaminated plastic waste. The most important processes, their potentials and the legal framework conditions are presented in the online seminar Fraunhofer CCPE compact »Chemical Recycling« on the 16th of June 2021 as well as in the position paper »Recycling Technologies«.

Recycling technologies that can produce a high-quality recyclate from highly heterogeneous or contaminated plastic waste, e.g. composite materials, are receiving more and more attention. This is happening both on the part of industry and the public. As a supplement to mechanical recycling, so-called chemical recycling offers the possibility of returning plastics that cannot currently be recycled to a material use. Compared to the mechanical share of 2.92 million tonnes, only 0.01 million tonnes of plastic waste were recycled raw materially (e.g. through chemical recycling) in 2019, which corresponds to a share of 0.2%. This low figure is due to the lack of technical development maturity of the processes, but also to regulatory and economic constraints.

In the Fraunhofer CCPE compact »Chemical Recycling«, scientists of the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Circular Plastics Economy CCPE will take a closer look at the potentials, technologies

and framework conditions for chemical recycling technologies from different perspectives. The Fraunhofer CCPE position paper »Recycling Technologies for Plastics« addresses material and feedstock (chemical) processing technologies for plastics that are currently being developed. In particular, those processes that are the research focus of the Fraunhofer CCPE are described in more detail. In addition to the state of the art, positions on the regulatory framework and a research agenda for chemical recycling are formulated.


Contact persons:

Prof. Dr. Matthias Franke (,  Phone +49 9661 8155-438)
Dr. Alexander Hofmann (, Phone +49 9661 8155-435)