Recovery of Plastic Waste

Document Type

Contribution to Books

Publication Date


Publication Title

Handbook of Environmental Engineering: Solid Waste Engineering and Management: Volume 2


Global plastic waste production had increased from 245 million metric tons in 2008 to 359 million metric tons in 2018, and this value is expected to be boosted by three times in the year 2050. The sudden change of human lifestyle during the pandemic of Covid-19 toward online shopping and panic buying to restock kitchen shelves has resulted in a high impact on the plastic industry and plastic waste management. The pandemic requires significant plastic waste management changes and severely affected plastic waste reduction’s current policies and strategies. Valorization of plastic is a desirable approach in managing a sudden surge of plastic waste during the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic as this recovery approach will change the plastic waste into valuable products. The present study reviews the current technologies on the recovery approaches of plastic into valuable products. The recovery approaches that cover mechanical recycling, energy recovery, and chemical recovery are discussed. The concept, mechanism, and performance of each approach are reviewed. The use of plastic in concrete, road construction, and soil treatment is highlighted under mechanical recovery. The heating value of plastic waste is used to discuss plastic waste combustion through the incineration process for energy recovery. The chemical recovery involves depolymerizing plastic waste through chemolysis, and thermolysis is discussed and compared. The review can conclude that the current technologies in the recovery of plastic waste will improve waste management, sustainability of resources, and shift toward the circular economy.