The definition includes different elements because “chemical recycling” has evolved over many years. For example, when referring to raw materials, it is critical to clarify that chemical recycling can produce commercial end-products or raw material as intermediaries to manufacture a product. Furthermore, in their definition the Coalition wanted to explicitly highlight that products exclude those used as fuels or means to generate energy in line with the WFD. See below an explanation for each element taken in the definition.
Polymeric waste is explained by the polymer definition under REACH: Means a substance consisting of molecules characterised by the sequence of one or more types of monomer units. Such molecules must be distributed over a range of molecular weights where differences in molecular weight are primarily attributed to differences in the number of monomer units. A polymer comprises the following:
(a) a simple weight majority of molecules containing at least three monomer units which are covalently bound to at least one other monomer unit or another reactant;
(b) less than a simple weight majority of molecules of the same molecular weight.
In the context of this definition, a “monomer unit” means the reacted form of a monomer substance in a polymer.
Hence “Polymeric Waste” is “waste” as defined in the WFD that is largely made up of polymers.
Reference to “converts” means that chemical recycling facilities receive polymeric waste sorted in the waste management processes, returning it from an end of life status to a circular recovery system. Chemical recycling changes the structure of the polymers into molecules of lower molecular weight.
Substance is defined: under REACH as a chemical element and/or its compounds in their natural state or obtained by any manufacturing process, including any additive necessary to preserve its stability and any impurity deriving from the process used, but excluding any solvent which may be separated without affecting the stability of the substance or changing its composition.
Hence a Substance can be made by any manufacturing process, including chemical recycling. The Coalition refers to “substances” to also include mixtures.
Raw Materials is defined: as materials or substances used in the primary production or manufacturing of goods. Raw materials are commodities that are bought and sold on commodities exchanges worldwide.
Hence raw materials are used in primary production or manufacturing and can be traded.
Products: in the definition, this refers to polymers as defined above and other materials or substances other than fuels.