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Thesis highlight of a SINReM student
SINReM student Delphine LG wrote her master thesis on chemical recycling of plastics at VITO in Belgium. Her internship at the European Commission was of particular importance in the process of writing it.
What is the exact research question of your thesis?
Delphine: ‘The approach and impact of the introduction of chemical recycling in the European plastic value chain’.
How does it connect to your internship at the European Commission?
Delphine: “During my internship at the European Commission – DG Environment, Unit B3 (Waste management & secondary materials), I had the opportunity to assist in work around the recently approved Single-Use Plastics Proposal. Assisting DG Environment on this topic has taught me a lot about European policy on waste management and, more specifically, on the management of plastic waste. The knowledge I acquired about plastic policy was very useful for my thesis, as my research also includes the EU policy aspects around (chemical) recycling of plastics.”
Why did you find this research particularly relevant or interesting?
Delphine: “It is relevant in the sense that plastic waste issues are of increasing concern and are receiving a lot of attention today. My research focuses on the chemical recycling of plastic waste as being complementary to mechanical recycling, meaning that chemical recycling could be interesting there where secondary streams are too challenging for mechanical recycling, due to contamination, mixed plastics, additives, et cetera. Additionally, chemical recycling could also contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions, which is relevant because we need to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 according to the Paris Agreement.”
What is important about your research for the future?
Delphine: “The fact that we urgently need to transform to a circular economy. Chemical recycling, together with the current mechanical recycling, could be a possible way to realize a more circular economy in the plastic sector.”
Delphine LG, SINReM master student (2nd year)