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What is the difference between mechanical and chemical recycling?

Mechanical recycling is one of the most widespread methods of plastics recycling in Europe. This recycling process is mainly focused on the shredding of plastic parts, while the actual molecular structure remains intact.


Source: Own illustration

Firstly, mechanical recycling requires a raw material that is as clean and pure as possible, and secondly, it can currently only process limited quantities of plastic. This means that a significant portion of the plastic waste produced worldwide cannot be processed with this recycling method.

Chemical recycling can be used to process almost any type of plastic, including contaminated plastic and composites. In addition, chemical recycling, and especially our process, allows the recycling process to be scaled up. This brings us considerably closer to the goal of a circular economy, because we can back materials back into the raw material cycle.

Mixed plastic waste is heated with the help of the ENESPA Wastx to about 400°C in the absence of oxygen and the paraffin oil is obtained with the subsequent distillation. This is then reused as a high-quality raw material for plastic granulate production. The process is almost CO2-neutral.

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ENESPA AG will generate positive cash flow starting with the first investment. By operating several facilities simultaneously, revenues increase disproportionately and, accordingly, so does the value of the company. There is great demand for this technology. 18 locations in Germany are interested in operating a facility at this time.

The business development fund of the Schwarze Pumpe Industrial Park is very interested in the ENESPA project. Following a thorough investigation, the responsible development bank declared the project eligible for funding. The project will be supported by the development bank once the approval process is completed. The approval process is in progress. (As of July 2020)

The aim is for the first 5,000 kg/day facility in the industrial park to be commissionedby the end of 2020. As soon as this facility is in reliable operation, ENESPA will build another ten facilities and then gradually expand to forty facilities. The ten facilities are expected to be fully operational by the end of 2021.

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