Mixed plastics baled for recycling.

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste is accepting funding applications for chemical recycling projects through April 30.| paul prescott/Shutterstock

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste is accepting applications to provide up to $20 million for individual chemical recycling ventures, according to a recent request for proposals.

The organization, which is funded by some of the world’s largest virgin plastic producers and brand owners, on Feb. 10 announced it is accepting applications for a round of funding dedicated to projects advancing chemical recycling, which is also sometimes referred to as “advanced plastics recycling.”

According to the Alliance, applicable projects include “all types of technologies that modify the molecular structure of the plastic waste and convert them into their original building blocks, speciality polymers, feedstocks for new plastics, fuels, waxes and other valuable products.”

The request for proposals offers depolymerization, pyrolysis and gasification as examples.

“Current recycling technologies do not enable sufficient value to drive investment in the infrastructure for collection and recycling of a significant proportion of used plastics,” the Alliance wrote in the request for proposals. “One way to close this gap is through advanced recycling, which refers to new emerging technologies that enable capturing the value of post-use plastics: recycling used-plastic back to high value products.”

The Alliance expects to provide between $1 million and $20 million per project, according to the request for proposals. The assistance will be provided through loans or grants.

“Projects with a high immediate impact or that make the first step towards high impact will be favored,” the RFP states. The Alliance will also consider the quantity of plastic waste that the applicant project would prevent from entering the environment, as well as the efficiency of each project in utilizing funding.

The request for proposals identifies several key challenges in the current chemical recycling market. Among them is a “lack of easy access to large quantities and consistent quality of plastic as a feedstock due to fragmented plastic collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure.” Another is a “challenge to achieve viable economics due to competition with petrochemical sector’s advantage of maturity of technology and economy of scale, and exposure to cyclical crude oil and derivatives market prices,” according to the Alliance.

The organization is accepting applications through April 30.

According to the announcement, the Alliance will open additional rounds of funding later this year covering mechanical recycling and material sorting technologies.

The Alliance launched in early 2019 with plans to commit more than $1 billion to reducing plastic waste over five years. As of mid-2020, the Alliance was funding more than a dozen projects.

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Bruno Folcieri