Recycled content traceability for circular plastics

July 3rd, 2024

Presentation by Jeroen Wassenaar (Cleanaway)

Traceability of recycled inputs through plastic supply chains is critical to substantiate claims for sustainable plastic products and packaging, particularly considering upcoming regulatory reforms that may contain mandatory recycled content obligations. Traceability of mechanically recycled plastics is relatively straightforward as they remain either physically segregated during processing or are physically blended with virgin resin. However, circular plastics derived from chemical recycling require mass balance accounting to enable the co-processing of recycled inputs with conventional feedstock. Mass balance is therefore a critical enabler for using existing facilities to build scale rapidly for recycled content plastics and deliver a domestic circular solution for hard-to-recycle plastics such as soft plastics. The paper will cover the mass balance concept in detail applied to circular plastics in Australia.