Michaela Fraubaum is convinced that the chemical recycling like the ReOil process is appropriate. There are wonderful items made from mechanically recycled plastics; for example, there are efficient methods for producing high-quality PET bottles from used PET bottles. Despite this, PET bottles account for just 20% of all packaging waste. So, how about the rest of it?
According to the process engineer, they go so far back in the chemical process with their ReOil form, they can even treat mixtures containing various forms of used plastic. They are no longer bound by the source product, and instead manufacture synthetic oil, a very pure raw material. This is particularly useful for high-tech plastics and products that require a high degree of purity.
Fraubaum explained that the plant processes mixed plastics like polyolefins or polystyrene, so wrappers or cups. Plastic cups, for example, that are left as waste on Austrian Airlines flights are recycled. The recycling code on the packaging indicates if it is suitable as feedstock for the ReOil plant: The ReOil process will recycle the numbers 02 (polyethylene – high density), 04 (polyethylene – low density), 05 (polypropylene), and 06 (polystyrene).
The used plastics are presorted and shipped to the refinery already shredded, where the small pieces of plastic, known as flakes, are fed into the process cycle. This is done with the aid of an extruder, which melts the plastic at the same time. The Solving phase is the first step in the process.