June 5, 2023

Our Position on Chemical Recycling

SPC’s mission is to bring together sustainable packaging stakeholders to catalyze actionable improvements to packaging systems and lend an authoritative voice on issues related to packaging sustainability. We support packaging policy as one tool that will accelerate our mission.
Our role is of an agnostic subject matter expert and educational resource that helps our members and other stakeholders understand packaging-related policies so they are informed and can participate actively in packaging policy conversations. We believe that engagement of informed stakeholders has the best potential to increase the effectiveness of legislative solutions.

SPC’s Use of the Term Chemical Recycling for This Position Statement

In the context of the SPC, chemical recycling refers to a spectrum of physical and chemical processes for transforming plastic or polymer waste into new products. SPC considers the term chemical recycling to be interchangeable with the terms molecular recycling, non-mechanical recycling, advanced recycling, and feedstock recycling. Chemical recycling technologies fall under three main categories: purification, depolymerization, and conversion. Use of technologies in these categories does not guarantee recycling; rather, recycling occurs when reprocessed material is incorporated into a new product. Thus, chemical recycling does not include energy recovery, fuel production, or the incineration of plastics, although these outcomes may involve the same or similar technologies as chemical recycling, and in some cases fuels may be co-produced with recycled materials in the same process.



Based on our current membership concentration, we primarily focus on the United States and Canada while staying aware of Europe and other international chemical recycling developments that can advance packaging sustainability.

The scope of SPC’s chemical recycling work includes any chemical recycling technology that can be applied to packaging materials. SPC takes a holistic approach to these technologies and their contributions to circularity, including topics such as infrastructure, social and environmental impacts, feedstocks and outputs, economics, certifications and claims, and policy. Chemical recycling technologies that do not apply to packaging materials are classified for awareness but not direct work.

All work of the SPC must be relevant to current or future programs and member interest with the goal to help keep members informed, and encourage dialogue between all stakeholders in the supply and value chain.