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Waste manager Indaver plans to build a new demo installation for recycling 15,000 tonnes of end-of-life plastics on an annual basis. This is an important step towards the realisation of an installation that will recycle approximately 50 tonnes of plastics every day into valuable basic raw materials for industry. Indaver is planning the installation at its site on the right bank in Antwerp.

Value creation for end-of-life consumer plastics
The Plastics2chemicals installation (P2C) offers a recycling solution for, for example, mixed polyolefins on the one hand and polystyrene on the other. Polyolefins (PP and PE) and polystyrene (PS) are used, among other things, for the production of packaging materials and electronic devices, such as butter dishes, foils, cups, yoghurt pots, etc.

Thanks to the increasingly sophisticated collection and sorting of plastic packaging materials, more fractions suitable for new recycling technologies such as P2C will come onto the market in the coming years.

Plastics2chemicals, a circular solution
With its Plastics2chemicals project, Indaver have developed an innovative depolymerisation technique for converting discarded plastics into basic chemicals. During processing, the plastics are broken down into smaller carbon chains or monomers. The polyolefins (PE and PP) will yield basic products such as naphtha and wax. The polystyrenes are broken down into monomers that can be used again as raw materials. P2C thus supplies new raw materials with the same quality as primary raw materials. The recycled products meet the requirements for direct industrial use in petrochemical processes. The new polymers are also suitable for applications in the food industry.

From pilot to large-scale solution
Since 2017, Indaver has expanded and successfully tested the new process in a lab environment in collaboration with the universities of Ghent and Antwerp. With the demo installation in Antwerp, the process is scaled up from 2 kg/hour to 2 tonnes/hour. In particular, the Plastics2chemicals demo installation will further tailor the final quality of the raw materials to the specifications of the customers. If the demo installation confirms expectations, Indaver will plan large-scale installations at strategic locations in Europe, both for the recycling of polystyrene on the one hand and for the recycling of polyolefins on the other.