We noted in previous columns that, according to McKinsey research, consumers equate “recyclability” with “green”. They know that recycling must be a good thing. But when it comes to understanding what recycling encompasses, and the different options available, consumers are generally not informed.
So the new collaboration between Canada’s Klean Industries and Dow (http://www.kleanindustries.com/s/KleanNews.asp?ReportID=563644) may prove to be especially important. It could both benefit society by keeping plastics out of landfills, and educate the public about how plastics can be reused for energy purposes. Klean has technology that makes energy recovery from plastics very attractive and has proved its technology at a plastics-to-oil recycling plant in Japan. The plant uses PET, PVC and the more common PE and PP.
It is good to see a chemical industry major being involved with this technology which offers great prospects to a difficult recycling problem. But what is also needed is more education of the public of how plastics and energy form part of the same chain. With that education in place, I believe that plastics recycling can become a much better understood and prized activity worldwide.