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Japan boosts chemical recycling to tackle plastics

Showa Denko has obtained a licence to process industrial waste and is ramping up its chemical technology to recycle plastic scrap at its facility in Kawasaki, Japan.

Showa Denka’s site, Kawasaki Plastic Recycling (KPR), gasifies end-of-life plastics under high temperatures so they decompose to the molecular level. The gasified plastics are then processed into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. 

The output materials are used in the manufacture of ammonia and CO2, a raw material to produce dry ice and carbonated drinks. KPR says it obtained the licence to diversify the range of used plastics it can handle. 

Japan generates almost nine million tonnes of plastic scrap every year. Of this, 390 000 tonnes are processed by chemical recycling, two million tonnes are mechanically recycled and five million tonnes undergo thermal processing. A total of 1.4 million tonnes are incinerated or landfilled.

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