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A Breakthrough in plastic recycling is coming up short

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The New York Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Major corporations like Nestlé, L’Oréal, and Procter & Gamble have committed to ambitious environmental goals, including reducing or eliminating the use of non-recyclable plastics in their products
• They are investing in a new generation of recycling technologies, such as advanced or chemical recycling, to achieve these goals  
• However, these technologies are currently facing significant challenges and struggling to meet expectations

🔭 The context: Advanced recycling aims to break down plastics to their molecular components for repurposing, unlike traditional recycling which often degrades material quality 
• PureCycle Technologies is a key player in this field, with significant backing from major brands, but has encountered setbacks including technical difficulties, lawsuits, and skepticism over its technology's efficacy and environmental impact

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The growth of advanced recycling facilities is crucial for tackling the global plastic waste crisis and moving towards a circular economy 
• However, the struggle of these plants to operate effectively highlights the challenges in managing the surge in global plastic production, which threatens to quadruple by midcentury, exacerbating environmental pollution and waste management issues

⏭️ What's next: Despite the current hurdles, companies remain optimistic about the potential of advanced recycling to revolutionize plastic waste management 
• Efforts to improve and scale these technologies continue, but their success is critical for reducing plastic pollution and achieving a more sustainable, circular economy

💬 One quote: “We believe in this technology. We’ve seen it work,” (Dustin Olson, Chief Executive of PureCycle Technologies)

📈 One stat: Advanced recycling plants, if operating at full capacity, could process around 456,000 tons of plastic waste a year, which might increase the plastic recycling rate by only 1%

Click for more news covering the latest on environmental sustainability


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