The amounts of plastics consumed annually all over the world have been growing substantially. Although low density, strength, user-friendly designs, processing capabilities, long life, as well as light weight coupled with high cost-effectiveness make plastics very promising candidates for several applications, they however have ecological issues in terms of waste disposal which has become a major worldwide problem. In fact, there are both technological and economic issues preventing progresses in this field. Here, an overview of the recycling and recovery of polymer waste is provided, followed by a brief discussion on the current recycling methods and technologies covering primary (re-extrusion), secondary (mechanical), tertiary (chemical), and quaternary (energy recovery) processes. Global polymer recycling markets are then reviewed.
Keywords: Plastic waste, recycling methods, energy recovery, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride.