July 2, 2024 The complexity of plastic polymers and even more so of additives has increased enormously in recent years. This makes the high-quality recycling of mixed plastic waste considerably more difficult. Some additives have now been strictly regulated or even completely banned for good reasons (“legacy additives”). Used plastics that still contain these substances are generally used for material or mechanical recycling. Consequently, products made from such recyclates are contaminated with these harmful substances. We therefore recommend, as already explained in our article in the journal Müll und Abfall “Kunststoffrecycling und gefährliche Stoffe – Risk Cycle”, avoiding the use of these recyclates for products with intensive contact with consumers until further notice. In our current article “Plastics Recycling and Hazardous Substances – Risk Cycle”, we also show that  the climate policy challenges for the plastics (and chemical) industry necessitate a defossilisation (‘feedstock change’). This turnaround can only succeed if solely high-quality recycling takes place in future; recyclates should primarily replace virgin plastics. This can only work if used plastics with a high degree of homogeneity and known formulation are collected separately, as is already the case today with PET bottles. In this context, we  would also like to point out inconsistencies in the current legislation on the European emissions trading system. The article by Prof. Dr. habil. Uwe Lahl and Dr. Barbara Zeschmar-Lahl is currently under review and can be viewed and commented on at preprints.org.


Article on preprints.org
Müll und Abfall 4, 2024