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A Comparison of Physical and Chemical Plastics Recycling

Today plastics recycling is usually only classified as being either mechanical or chemical. This view ignores the fact that the main difference between the two is whether physical or chemical reactions are taking place.

However, precise differentiation is crucial for any assessment of the possibilities and limitations of the processes and whether materials are actually being recycled or merely recovered.


  • Dr. Martin Schlummer, Tanja Fell, and Dr. Andreas Mäurer from Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Freising, Germany.
  • Dr. Gerald Altnau – CreaCycle GmbH

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