The recycling industry is rapidly evolving all over the world. From focusing on better, more energy and cost-efficient solutions to finding new ways to break down the hardiest of plastics, new plastic recycling technologies are set to change how we view sustainability .
Globally, the plastic recycling market revenue stood at $46.09 billion in H1 of 2021. New plastic recycling technologies are set to boost this market size to over $68.81 billion per annum by 2030, registering a CAGR of 4.8%.
This shows just how important new plastic recycling breakthroughs are for the world. It also shows how the world is ready to adopt these new methodologies and improve the world – for ourselves and future generations.
In this article, we will take a closer look at three new plastic recycling technologies to discover in 2023 and how the year is set to be the year of transformation for the industry!
Importance of New Plastic Recycling Technologies
In today's world, the demand for efficient and effective recycling practices has never been greater. As a result, new research and technologies provide innovative solutions to meet these demands.
One of the main benefits of technological advancements in recycling is the increase in efficiency. For example, new machines and equipment can sort recyclables more accurately and quickly, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
This not only helps to conserve our natural resources but also reduces the carbon footprint of the recycling process. This is particularly the case for plastics that would otherwise be difficult to reuse or recycle.
Technology has also made it possible to recycle a wider range of materials, including plastics and electronic waste. The development of new recycling methods, such as chemical recycling, has opened up new avenues for waste management and has the potential to revolutionize the industry.
New Plastic Recycling Technologies
Bacteria to Consume Plastic
While the idea of using bacteria for improved plastic recycling has been around for quite a while, it has only recently become cost-effective. Now, the method is not only limited to high-end recycling facilities but is set to be adopted widely by local recycling companies.
A prime example of this is the ideonella sakaiensis, a bacteria that actually eats plastic. It consumes plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which would otherwise stay in the ecosystem for years before showing signs of degradation.
PET is a clear, strong plastic used across the glove for packaging, particularly for beverages. A major issue with this bacteria was that it was hard to synthesize and costly to implement. However, the latest developments have created strains that could change this.
Comamonas Testosteroni, a bacteria that adheres to PET surface and breaks it down into other enzymes for easy bacterial consumption, is set to be the next big thing for the industry. It is a cost-effective bacteria that prefer dead plants and plastics over sugar.
It also costs relatively less and consumes significant plastic material in just two weeks. Pestalotiopsis microspora is also a major breakthrough in this new plastic recycling technology – a plastic-eating fungus.
Hybrid Mechanical & Advanced Recycling for 2023 & Beyond
Hybrid Mechanical and Advanced Recycling is a new method of recycling that uses a combination of mechanical and chemical processes to recycle various types of materials, such as plastics and metals. This method is considered more effective and efficient than traditional recycling methods, as it results in a higher quality of recycled materials.
This can greatly improve the sustainability of our planet, as it reduces the need for new resources to be extracted and processed. Hybrid Mechanical and Advanced Recycling also reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, as it enables the recycling of materials that were previously not recyclable.
This not only reduces the burden on landfills but also helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as waste in landfills releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. In 2023 and the years to come, it is important to continue to invest in and support technological advancements in recycling, such as this one.
They play a crucial role in improving sustainability, better energy usage for recycling, and cost-efficiency for all. By reducing the amount of waste in landfills and reducing the need for new resources, we can help create a more sustainable future for generations to come.
Better Sorting Technologies
Sorting plastics for recycling can be challenging, but recent technological advancements have made it possible to sort plastics with much greater accuracy and efficiency. These new technologies use techniques such as near-infrared spectroscopy and machine learning algorithms to identify and sort plastics based on their chemical composition, which makes the process much more precise and reliable.
This is important because it means that recycled plastic products will be of higher quality, increasing their market value and encouraging more widespread use. Additionally, these technologies can help reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills or the ocean, which is critical for protecting the environment.
The world is increasing its focus on this sorting equipment, and the most reliable method so far is via optical sorting equipment. The industry for such technologies is set to reach over $3.8 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 9.3%.
Leading companies for this new plastic recycling technology include Machinex and AMP Cortex. Machinex provides recycling companies with hyperspectral cameras that improve detection and have dedicated robotic hands for quick sorting.
AMP Cortex, on the other hand, focuses on better and more efficient robotics solutions. Its recent development features up to eighty (80) picks every minute, sorting recyclables (especially plastics) with 99% accuracy.
New Plastic Recycling Technologies – How They Are Helping Close The Loop
There is no doubt about the exciting progress being made in the realm of circular economy and how technology is playing a key role in closing the loop. Technology is helping to achieve the circular goal by facilitating the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data on material flows, enabling us to better understand and manage the lifecycle of products.
For example, blockchain technology enables more transparent and secure supply chains, making it easier to track the origin and destination of materials. This helps to ensure that valuable resources are kept in circulation for as long as possible, reducing waste and minimizing the need for virgin resources.
2023 is also seeing advances in material science and engineering, hence allowing for the design of products that are easier to disassemble and recycle. This, combined with smart manufacturing product recycling techniques, is helping to create closed-loop production processes that minimize waste and maximize resource efficiency.
RECAPP is a recycling company dedicated to creating a better environment across the UAE. We are actively looking towards better recycling technologies, not only for plastics but for metal, paper, electronics, and more! Get in touch with us today to learn more about our solutions or our dedicated recycling products for a better tomorrow – for yourself and others!
Link to Sustainability vs. circular economy article