Plastics that were once destined for the landfill are now able to be recycled.
The Australian company IQ Renew is using a new chemical recycling process for so-called end of life plastics.
Currently only 50 per cent of plastics can be physically recycled. The rest is sent to landfill, incineration or ends up in the ocean.
IQ Renew uses water at a high temperature and pressure, which chemically breaks down the plastic into a direct substitute for crude oil.
The chemicals can be used over and over again for new plastics or as fuels that help reduce waste, not natural resources.
The technology has been developed by Licella and The University of Sydney on the New South Wales Central Coast over 10 years.
Next year, the first fully commercial plant will be built in the UK.
Oji Fibre Solutions, New Zealand’s leading recycler, is also wanting to capitalise on the technology.
It has signed a memorandum of understanding with IQ Renew and commercial partners Licella Holdings.
Oji CEO Jon Ryder says recent policies in China and South East Asia has restricted waste imports.
He says it requires the company “to investigate alternative on-shore treatment options, as landfilling is not acceptable to our business.”
Oji collections more than 300,000 tonnes of recovered paper from throughout New Zealand, as well as plastic waste.