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Towards Higher Quality of Recycled Plastics: Limitations from the Material’s Perspective

1
Institute of Environmental Technology and Energy Economics, Sustainable Resource and Waste Management, Hamburg University of Technology, Blohmstrasse 15, 21079 Hamburg, Germany
2
Institute of Waste Management and Circular Economy, Technische Universität Dresden, 01796 Pirna, Germany
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: John N. Hahladakis, Eleni Iacovidou and Eggo Ulphard Thoden van Velzen
Sustainability 2021, 13(23), 13266; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313266
Received: 3 November 2021 / Revised: 25 November 2021 / Accepted: 25 November 2021 / Published: 30 November 2021
The increasing consumption of plastics and plastic products results in correspondingly substantial volumes of waste, which poses considerable environmental burdens. With the ongoing environmental actions, the application of circular economy on this waste stream is becoming inevitable. In this paper, the topics of plastics recycling, circular economy on plastics, and challenges to plastic waste recycling are critically reviewed. In the first part of this paper, the development of research on plastic recycling was viewed from 1950 until 2020 using the scientific database Web of Science, and 682 related studies were found and used to assess the changing research priorities along that timeline. The following sections discuss the potentials and requirements to enhance the quality of the produced recycled plastic, in connection with the factors that currently limit it. In conclusion, the quality of recycled plastic is generally determined by the homogeneity of the recovered plastic feed. There are various strategies which could be implemented to overcome the hindrances identified in the paper and to improve the quality of the recycled plastic, such as working on enhanced product designs for minimised waste heterogeneity and controlling the materials’ degree of contamination by applying advanced sorting. View Full-Text
Keywords: plastic waste; mechanical recycling; recycled material quality; limitations plastic recycling plastic waste; mechanical recycling; recycled material quality; limitations plastic recycling
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MDPI and ACS Style

Alassali, A.; Picuno, C.; Chong, Z.K.; Guo, J.; Maletz, R.; Kuchta, K. Towards Higher Quality of Recycled Plastics: Limitations from the Material’s Perspective. Sustainability 2021, 13, 13266. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313266

AMA Style

Alassali A, Picuno C, Chong ZK, Guo J, Maletz R, Kuchta K. Towards Higher Quality of Recycled Plastics: Limitations from the Material’s Perspective. Sustainability. 2021; 13(23):13266. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313266

Chicago/Turabian Style

Alassali, Ayah, Caterina Picuno, Zhi Kai Chong, Jinyang Guo, Roman Maletz, and Kerstin Kuchta. 2021. "Towards Higher Quality of Recycled Plastics: Limitations from the Material’s Perspective" Sustainability 13, no. 23: 13266. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313266

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