CircuPlast presents an opportunity to enable a circular approach to the management of single‑use plastic packaging waste, reducing carbon emissions associated with both production and disposal phases, whilst mitigating against release into the natural environment.
In the UK, it is estimated that five million tonnes of plastic is used every year, with up to 50% originating from packaging (House of Commons, 2020). Whilst a proportion of plastic can be recycled, the non-recyclable fractions still pose a significant issue, with concerns relating to residence time and emissions for disposal via landfill and incineration, respectively. Furthermore, the presence of waste plastics in the natural environment, polluting soils, rivers, and oceans is well documented.
As such, alternative methods for the processing of plastic waste are required to promote a more circular approach to waste plastics management, whilst serving to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with current disposal practices.
With the global market for plastics recycling expected to grow from $25.3billion to $33.8billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 5.9%, development of a sustainable solutions for the management of waste plastics presents a significant opportunity.
Stopford, in partnership with University of Birmingham, is developing a novel hydro-thermal process (CircuPlast) in order to provide the waste plastics management sector with an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable alternative to existing practices.
Through employing a continuous high-temperature and high-pressure process, the CircuPlast technology enables the transformation of waste plastic into chemical precursors (naphtha) for primary plastics manufacture.
Packaged within 10,000 tpa modules the CircuPlast technology can be sited alongside existing waste and plastics management infrastructure, enabling the production of high-value chemicals from a low-value feedstock.
Adoption of the CircuPlast technology presents a circular and indiscriminate approach to the management of waste plastics, enabling 100% recycling rates to be achieved. Furthermore, the provision of chemical precursors for primary plastics manufacture, provides a sustainable alternative to fossil oil derived feedstocks, which in turn will serve to increase the recycled content of primary plastics, whilst maintaining functionality, to a level that is currently unachievable through the use of mechanically recovered materials.
As well as contributing to key UK Plastics Pact targets, the CircuPlast technology is also aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals relating to waste management (SDG11), sustainable production (SDG12) climate change (SDG7) and the protection of both terrestrial and marine ecosystems (SDG14&15).
In summary, the CircuPlast technology presents an opportunity to enable a circular approach to the management of plastics, reducing carbon emissions associated with both production and disposal phases, whilst mitigating against release into the natural environment.