Chemical recycling (feedstock recycling) refers to operations that aim to chemically degrade the collected plastics waste into its monomers or other basic chemicals. The output may be reused for polymerisation into new plastics for the production of other chemicals or as an alternative fuel.
Several technologies have been or are being developed by major chemical companies. In general, investment levels and energy consumption are such that only very large-scale plants are expected to be economically viable. Therefore, another key factor is ensuring the supply of sufficient input materials of the right quality.