Speaker insights from Plastic Energy and Plastics Europe

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About Chemical Recycling

Please note this conference has been postponed and the event will now take place on 3 - 4 November 2020.

Ahead of the Chemical Recycling conference we took the opportunity to gather industry insights from our expert speakers.

This week we spoke to Carlos Monreal and Guy Castelan who will be speaking on the first day of the conference.  We asked them about their current role, insight into the plastics recycling industry and what they will be speaking about at the Chemical Recycling conference in November.

3 - 4 November, 2020 | Hamburg, Germany

Mr. Carlos Monreal
Plastic Energy 

Mr. Guy Castelan
Life Cycle Thinking and Sustainability Project Manager
Plastics Europe

Please tell us about your current role. What are your key focus areas and responsibilities?

CarlosI am Carlos Monreal, CEO of PLASTIC ENERGY. I am working hard with the rest of the Plastic Energy team to develop a technology we believe in and enable its development globally. While managing the growth of Plastic Energy, I am also opening and unlocking the doors to raise the profile of our company, to gather support to overcome some of the challenges we face, and most importantly to develop new chemical recycling projects by negotiating commercial agreements with global partners. After more than 5 years of intense business development, agreements with global petrochemical companies to build new plants are lining up and will contribute to making the circular economy of plastic a reality.

Guy: I am in charge of Life Cycle Thinking and Sustainability activities of Plastics Europe. LCTS group steers the development of Life Cycle data for different type of plastic materials and contributes to the development of LCA for example by being a member of the Life Cycle Initiative hosted by UNEP.  I facilitate to the group in charge of developing and communicating a common view on the mass balance approach applicable to chemical recycling.

How do you see the plastics recycling industry developing and growing in the next three-to-five years?

Carlos: I believe that chemical recycling will have an important role in complementing the current recycling efforts (and future advances) of mechanical recycling. It will be particularly important in bringing to the market virgin-quality recycled content. I expect growing capacities / infrastructure to be announced in the coming 3 years to prevent plastic waste export and increase the recycling rates. The next 5 years will lead to the value-chain to (re-)organise to increase efficiency and reach the European recycling targets and companies’ commitments.

Guy: In a context of circular economy recycling is undoubtedly one of the key solutions together with an always better efficiency of the use of resources. In January 2018, Plastics Europe published its voluntary commitment to reach 60%, re use and recycling for plastics packaging by 2030. Mechanical recycling is often the option giving the best benefits for the environment but when wastes are difficult to sort and treat, or when targeted application are highly demanding chemical recycling appears to be promising.

What challenges do you currently face in the industry and how do you think these could be resolved in the future?

Carlos: We face two main challenges:

  • Regulatory: given the recent development of chemical recycling, policies haven’t yet caught up with the industry in clarifying its status in specific policy areas (definitions, end of waste status, EPR among others).

  • Securing the plastic waste required to develop a project and diverting it away from incineration, landfills or exports.

These will unlock through the close work with all stakeholders involved to support the development of the new recycling technologies, by creating the mechanisms necessary to ensure that the waste hierarchy is respected, and by providing clarity to this new industry. Naturally, this will be facilitated through the support of partners and the development of more chemical recycling plants

Guy: On the way to circular economy, it is essential to follow a life cycle approach. Eco-design with plastics for sustainable products during their entire life cycle is a driver for innovation. Also, ensuring that all packaging is separately collected is a pre-condition, as well as a challenge, to enable circularity and at the same time address the issue of littering.

You will be speaking at the Chemical Recycling Conference 2020, could you give us a little preview on what you will be talking about?

Carlos: I will be delighted to discuss the importance of the technology in solving the plastic waste issue and keeping this valuable material in the loop, the records of Plastic Energy in contributing to the circular economy of plastics, and finally I will highlight the current projects, agreements and partnerships of Plastic Energy as well as the expected growth of the company.

Guy: Climate protection, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and saving of fossil resources are key elements for a more sustainable future. The use of renewable or recycled feedstocks in existing efficient, but complex and interlinked multi-step chemical production systems and supply chains can contribute to meet these challenges. Mass balance is one of several well-known “Chain of Custody” approaches which can be used to trace the flow of materials through the value chain resulting in associated claims. Of course, it must be applied a consistent, verifiable and certified way by companies to be accepted by stakeholders.

Lastly, if you had to be one type of plastic, what would you be and why?

Guy: Well, our body is already composed of polymeric structures, which was elaborated by evolution of life, although it is not thermoplastic. So I hope nobody will try to extrude me.

The Chemical Recycling conference launches in Hamburg, Germany from 3 - 4 November, 2020. This conference will bring together expert speakers from across the supply chain to address the viewpoints of recycling groups on how chemical recycling will find its place in the market and its viability for commercialisation. Key areas of focus will also include the range of technologies available for chemical recycling and their impact on the wider environment, as well as how chemical recycling is expected to aid in meeting national and international plastics recycling targets.   

In addition to the busy programme of presentations from leading stakeholders in the market, the conference will offer extensive networking opportunities in a focused exhibition area featuring displays from a range of suppliers.

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Chemical Recycling