Non-mechanical recycling has the potential to significantly increase the UK’s recycling rates, enable recycled content to be used back in packaging and divert valuable resources from landfill and incineration. Working alongside traditional mechanical recycling, it will have a big impact towards the redesign of our plastics system in the UK and our vision of a circular economy for plastics.

This paper sets out the WRAP’s position on the use of non-mechanical recycling technologies and how it must be effectively utilised to support the transition towards a circular economy for plastics in the UK.

The opportunities for non-mechanical recycling

The opportunities if non-mechanical recycling is implemented correctly (and not used to as an alternative fuel source) are huge. It will:

  • Provide a route to increasing the percentage of plastic being effectively recycled.
  • Complement advances in mechanical recycling.
  • Generate a versatile feedstock of the same quality as virgin material for food grade and other high specification applications that lower the dependency on virgin plastics.  
  • It will avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that occur in virgin resin production and from the incineration of plastic waste. 

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  • Redesigning the plastics system - the role of non-mechanical recycling

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