There has been a lot of debate in the past years about how the growing plastic waste issue should be managed. In principle, all plastics can be recycled. When diligently sorted and cleaned, all plastic types are suitable for mechanical recycling, melting the waste plastic and regranulating them. However, such recycling methods are many time not convenient.

Inconvenience is caused by several things. Firstly, the variety of different qualities and grades within a single plastic type is already vast. When we look at the different plastics that are produced, it is reasonably easy to sort polyethylene, polypropylene and PET that together represent about 50% of all plastics. After that, the array becomes highly fragmented and varies a lot from country to another.

In order to meet the demands of customers, on many cases multilayer films are required. Such films can be composed of 2 to e.g. 9 different layers of different polymers and including aluminum, that are mechanically difficult to separate from each other. In some cases, they can be separated physically with solvents, but when considering convenience, then thermochemical recycling is often the only option.