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Developments in the End-of-Life management of plastics A Western European Overview: moving away from disposal

Lunds universitet/Internationella miljöinstitutet
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  • Bio-Polymers
  • Plastics Waste Management
  • Mechanical Recycling
  • Feedstock Recycling
  • Chemical Recycling
  • Recovery Options
  • Policy Intervention
  • Environmental Studies
  • Miljöstudier
  • Earth And Environmental Sciences
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Political Science


Plastic materials come in a variety of forms from non-renewable resource based thermosets and thermoplastics to renewable resource based bio-plastics each of which have unique qualities and properties. These materials are seeing ever increasing production and consumption rates throughout Western Europe, being utilized in a growing number of products which inevitably enter the waste stream upon end of life. With waste and resource management attracting a growing amount of attention from all sectors of society there are profound and dynamic developments occurring so as to manage these material resources in a sustainable manner. This thesis attempts to explore developments within the plastics waste management sector from social and environmental issues, political intervention at an EU level, and technological advances in treatment and polymer identification/separation options available and utilized within the Western European geographical region. Specific attention is given to developments and advances in technology both for identifying/separating specific polymer types and in recycling/recovering these material resources. The main drivers, barriers and issues surrounding utilizing this waste resource in a sustainable, environmentally sound and resource efficient manner are discussed in relation to their implications on transitioning up the waste management hierarchy in an integrated system

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