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Chemical Recycling: APChemi CEO Shares Insights on Scaling Up Recycled Content

New Delhi, March 24, 2024 - APChemi's CEO, MrSuhas Dixit recently participated in a thought-provoking panel discussion at the WeCare Plastic Circularity Summit 2024, sharing valuable insights on accelerating India's transition towards a circular economy for plastics. As a technical expert in Advanced Recycling, Mr Suhas Dixit emphasized the crucial role of chemical recycling via pyrolysis in upcycling end-of-life and single-use plastic waste.


Question 1:

How can extended producer responsibility (EPR) initiatives be integrated with broader waste management and recycling infrastructure?


Here are the points to consider in order to understand what EPR can do and what EPR can not do:

1. Does EPR legislation force cross-value chain collaboration? 

- Currently EPR mostly applies to FMCG and packaging companies.

- It should hold the entire chemical recycling value chain responsible, including municipal corporations, polymer producers, refineries, etc.

2. Are EPR expectations of the industry fair?

- PET chemical recycling is easier and cheaper compared to recycling polyolefins and multi-layer packaging. 

- EPR certificate costs should be calculated based on the viability gap in chemically recycling a particular plastic, rather than comparing to PET.

3. Can EPR enable development of recycling infrastructure?

- 90% of plastic waste is not recycled and infrastructure doesn't exist.

- If EPR budgets can provide capital for developing recycling assets, it would help enable the infrastructure. 

4. Is EPR a silver bullet?

- There may not be serious consequences for players who don't properly fulfill their EPR by recycling.

- Plastic taxes, in addition to EPR, make it tax evasion to not recycle, increasing accountability.

- Europe has adopted plastic taxes of €50-800/ton. Having such legislations globally would boost EPR implementation and recycling infrastructure development.

Achieving a circular economy for plastics in India requires a multi-pronged approach that encompasses technological innovation, stakeholder collaboration, policy support, consumer engagement, and infrastructure development. By working together and leveraging the power of chemical recycling, we can transform plastic waste into a valuable resource, create jobs, conserve resources, and combat climate change.

Question 2:

What are the key enablers for the ecosystem to adopt use of recycled content in FMCG flexible packaging?


1. Upcycling Technology Adoption 

Chemical recycling via pyrolysis is a method for upcycling end-of-life and single-use plastic waste. This technology needs to be adopted for enabling recycled content, as mechanical recycling does not produce recycled content that can be used for food and pharma grade applications. APChemi's technology can tackle impurities and purify the pyrolysis oil to be used as feedstock for production of up-cycled plastics.

2. Collaborations Between Stakeholders

The stakeholders in the circular supply chain of chemical recycling need to come together to demonstrate and scale up chemical recycling.

3. Regulatory Support

Regulatory support should involve both penalties for non-compliance ("stick") and incentives for ensuring recycled content ("carrot"). All stakeholders in plastic circularity should be encouraged by such a carrot and stick mechanism.

4. Consumer Participation

- Consumers should have the choice to support recycled content in plastic packaging, such as the ability to make voluntary contributions to fund the viability gap for upcycling plastic waste. 

- Segregation at source by consumers and selecting purchases based on recyclability and recycled content would boost recycled content in flexible packaging.

- Educating consumers about relevant plastic waste management rules and legislations is important.

5. Economic Viability and Stability

- The entire value chain of chemical recycling must become economically viable. 

- Chemical recycling projects should have stability and not be affected by fluctuations in crude oil prices.

- Dependable, patented intellectual property is key for economic viability, which APChemi offers.

6. Design for Recycling

Reducing halogen and oxygen content in multi-layer packaging is essential to enable ease of chemical recycling. 

7. Targets for Recycled Content and Recycling 

- If EPR mandates recycled content, it will help increase its use in packaging.

- Targets should apply to all players in the value chain, including municipal corporations, polymer producers, etc. to ensure cooperation.

8. Education of Stakeholders

All stakeholders need to be educated on how they can collaborate in the chemical recycling value chain, from consumers to FMCG companies.

9. Developing Infrastructure for Chemical Recycling

- Decentralized plastic waste collection is needed, with small/medium enterprises playing an important role. 

- Enabling capital for SMEs to develop pyrolysis plants and supply purified oil to refineries/polymer producers is crucial.

10. Collaborative Research and Development

- Academia should focus more on industry collaborations and developing practical solutions to challenges in scaling up chemical recycling.

- Education in relevant fields should identify and address scale-up challenges.

11. Measuring Carbon Footprint 

- APChemi can produce purified pyrolysis oil at lower carbon footprint by reducing chemicals and having heat recovery loops.

- Decentralized plastic-to-oil conversion and logistics of transporting oil vs plastic waste to petrochemical plants reduces carbon footprint.

- Lifecycle analysis is needed.


During the panel, Dixit highlighted key enablers for adopting recycled content in FMCG flexible packaging, including the adoption of upcycling technology, collaborations between stakeholders, regulatory support, consumer participation, and economic viability. He stressed the importance of designing for recycling, setting targets for recycled content, educating stakeholders, developing infrastructure for chemical recycling, and collaborative research and development.

Dixit also addressed the integration of extended producer responsibility (EPR) initiatives with broader waste management and recycling infrastructure. He emphasized the need for cross-value chain collaboration, fair EPR expectations, and the potential of EPR budgets to enable the development of recycling infrastructure. Additionally, he noted the significance of plastic taxes in boosting EPR implementation and accountability.

APChemi's mission is to collaborate and innovate to restore our Earth by tackling plastic and air pollution. The company invites stakeholders across the value chain to partner in this transformative journey towards a cleaner, greener future. By working together and leveraging the power of chemical recycling, India can transform plastic waste into a valuable resource, create jobs, conserve resources, and combat climate change.


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