Chemical recycling of plastic waste via thermocatalytic routes

Jechan Lee, Eilhann E. Kwon, Su Shiung Lam, Wei Hsin Chen, Jörg Rinklebe, Young Kwon Park

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


The use of plastics is closely associated with modern life. However, plastics are very slowly degraded in nature, and current recycling of used plastic materials is inefficient, which raises growing concern due to the widespread use of plastics. Inherent values of plastics are easily underutilized because many of them are treated as waste even after a single use. Most typically recycled plastics have deteriorated physical properties compared to virgin plastics because they are compromised through several processing cycles. An alternative method to process plastic waste is chemical recycling (i.e., the transformation of plastic waste to high-value chemicals such as monomers and hydrocarbons). This review analyzed and discussed different technologies applied to the chemical recycling of various plastic waste materials via thermocatalytic routes including polyethylene terephthalate, polyolefins, polystyrene, and polyamide. Valorization of the chemicals recycled from the plastic wastes is also discussed. The future prospect and research of thermocatalytic upcycling of plastic solid waste in view of the current issues are also presented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128989
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - 25 Oct 2021


  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Polymer
  • Sustainable chemistry
  • Waste treatment
  • Waste upcycling


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