iCAREPLAST: Challenges & Solution

Challenge - Closing the Plastic Recycling Loop


Approximately 70% of European plastic waste (18.5 mt/year) is not being recycled due to technical or economic reasons and are thus sent to landfill (27%) or incinerated (42%). This situation affects negatively the environment in terms of pollution and greenhouse gases emissions, as well as social perception regarding waste management, consumer’s products industry and policy makers.


  • 27.1 Mt/year Plastic waste recovered in EU
  • Only ca. 31% is efficiently recycled
  • 70 %, approx. 18.5 Mt/year NOT RECYCLED
    >> 42% Incineration
    >> 27% Landfill



Cost- and Energy-efficient Recycling

iCAREPLAST addresses the cost and energy-efficient recycling of a large fraction of today’s non-recyclable plastics and composites from urban waste. Heterogeneous plastic mixtures are converted into valuable chemicals, (alkyl)aromatics, via chemical routes comprising sequential catalytic and separation steps. This multi-stage process also produces carbon char and a pure CO2 stream as products, while offering greater economic sustainability, operational flexibility and a lower CO2 footprint thanks to: the energetic valorisation of gas by-products through innovative oxycombustion units integrated with efficient heat recovery, the use of AI predictive control and real time optimisation.

Responding to Call: H2020-NMBP-SPIRE-2018

Plastic Recycling Process – Expected Impact

  • Improved energy and resource efficiency (LCA, LCC).
    🡫 energy requirements up to 45%
    🡫 residues production up to 95%
    🡫 use of primary fossil resources in 46-81%
    🡫 CO2 emissions starting from 40-55%
  • Integration with the relevant value chain.
  • Flexibility. Ensured supply of raw materials.
  • Quality/specifications of the yielded streams ensuring their usability.
  • Non-technological hurdles to enable the prompt deployment in industry of the developed concepts and economic indicators.
    🡩 economic yield up to 200%




Demonstration of the whole technology for plastic waste valorisation in a pilot plant able to process >100 kg/h of plastic (TRL-7).

  • Chemical recycling.
  • Production of high valuable chemicals.
  • Maximisation and complete exploitation of currently non-recyclable plastic waste.
  • Improvement of process efficiency to reduce the carbon footprint and ensure the viability and sustainability.

to other waste materials (e.g. biomass).

Involved technologies/developments can be exploited in many other industries.