Close up of thermal cracker regenerator vessel of the new machine from Recycling Technologies


Solving the problem of plastic waste

The challenge

Plastic is a fantastic material with many beneficial applications and has become part of our everyday lives. For this reason, forecasts suggest that up to a billion tonnes could be produced every year by 2050. However, just 12% of the plastic that is produced today is recycled. The majority of plastic is either landfilled, incinerated or leaked into the environment, as seen through the rising levels of plastic in our oceans.

Given technological challenges with current recycling methods, new solutions are required to solve this growing problem, and chemical recycling is becoming recognised as a key component in the transition from a linear economy to a circular economy, decoupling plastic production from fossil-fuel sources and recovering value from plastic waste.

Close up of a bale of residual plastic waste ready to be recycled by the RT Beta plant
Diagram of the circular economy of plastic

The solution

Chemical recycling is the broad term used to describe a range of emerging technologies that allow plastics that are either technically difficult to process or uneconomic to recover, to be recycled.

By turning plastic waste back into base chemicals and chemical feedstocks, chemical recycling processes have the potential to dramatically improve recycling rates and divert plastic waste from landfill or incineration.

Chemical recycling 101

Feedstock Recycling

Converts residual plastic waste, that would normally be landfilled or incinerated, into oil that can be used by the petrochemical industry as the feedstock for producing virgin quality plastic.

Monomer Recycling

Cracks long polymer molecules back into the monomer building block, for example polystyrene into styrene, from which more polystyrene can be produced.


Our solution

RT7000: feedstock recycling

The RT7000 is our proprietary technology which transforms plastic waste into chemical feedstock, called Plaxx®, which can be used in the manufacture of new, virgin quality plastic. The machine uses a process called thermal cracking to break down long chains of polymers into shorter chains through the use of heat in the absence of oxygen.

The RT7000 is built to integrate with existing mechanical recycling infrastructure, aiming to increase the overall recycling capacity of both methods. The RT7000 is designed to bring the solution to the problem, avoiding unnecessary transportation of plastic waste and associated carbon emissions. 


Proprietary technology

Capable of processing a wide spectrum of plastics, including some biomass contamination. In-house developed intellectual property allows technology to evolve quickly. Patents granted for the process with additional patents filed.


The RT7000 is modular and designed for mass-manufacture, allowing for easy transportation in standard 20' ISO freight frames and quick onsite installation, facilitating integration with existing waste management infrastructure.


The RT7000 can process most types of plastics that are not routinely recycled, such as:

  • Soft and flexible packaging (e.g. films)
  • Multi-layered and laminated plastics (e.g. crisp packets)
  • Complex or even contaminated plastic (e.g. food trays)


Plaxx is a hydrocarbon product which can substitute crude oil. It is a valuable chemical feedstock which, after refinement, can be used in the manufacturing of new virgin quality plastic.

Plaxx is not intended for use as fuel. It is a valuable building block in the circular economy and the plastics value chain, providing recycled content for new plastic products in line with governmental targets.

Fluidised bed reactor illustration

Fluidised Bed Reactor

Reactor is self-cleaning enabling residual plastics to be processed

Most scalable reactor technology allowing for flexibility in where it is used

Homogenous and fast heating rates give high yield of pyrolysis oil

Continuous process results in higher thermal efficiency

Monomer recycling

Monomer recycling is an advanced recycling technology that converts polystyrene waste back into its main building block, styrene, which can then be used to manufacture new polystyrene with identical properties to the virgin material.

RT are applying their patented fluidised bed reactor technology to monomer recycling to develop a scalable, high yield solution to polystyrene waste.

making polystyrene recyclable
Diagram of polystyrene monomer recycling process and machinery
Detail of a heavy duty industrial hook and pulley system on a factory floor

Key projects

Close up of fluidised bed reactor unit for the RT7000 at Binn Eco Park

The first RT7000

The first RT7000 commercial-scale unit will be installed at Binn Eco Park in Perth, Scotland. This is a collaboration with Scottish waste management company Binn Group, supported by Zero Waste Scotland and Innovate UK, backed by major petrochemical Neste, and major UK wax manufacturer Kerax.

Read more in our news area
Innovate UK logoZero Waste Scotland logoNeste logoKerax logoBinn Group logoRecycling Technologies logo

Polystyrene recycling with INEOS Styrolution

INEOS Styrolution is the leading global styrenics supplier, and has selected RT as the technology provider for monomer recycling following a competitive process. RT’s fluidised bed reactor technology demonstrated an offer of excellent scalability making it the technology of choice for future large recycling plants.

A Joint Technology Agreement has been reached to further advance the development of the solution, including the design and build of a polystyrene recycling pilot plant, which will provide data and operational experience for developing a full scale plant.

Ineos Styrolution logoRecycling Technologies logo
Project Fuscia partner logos - CITEO, Recycling Technologies, Total, Mars and Nestle

Project Fuscia

Lead by the French compliance body, Citeo, Project Fuscia is a first of its kind consortium project trialling the technical and economic feasibility of recycling complex plastic waste in France. The consortium brings together major players across the plastics value chain, including Total, Nestlé and Mars, with Recycling Technologies as the technology provider.

Further information
Project Lodestar - New Plastics Economy logoProject Lodestar - New Plastics Economy logo

Project Lodestar

In 2016 we collaborated with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on a multi-partner initiative, Project Lodestar, which conceptualised an advanced Plastics Recycling Facility (a-PRF). It combined mechanical recycling with chemical (feedstock) recycling and found that this could increase the rate of plastics kept in circulation, diverting them away from waste while bringing economic advantages over landfilling and incineration.

Download Case Study
Project Manta logoProject Manta logo

Project Manta

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste and Recycling Technologies are partnering to evaluate the feasibility of using chemical recycling technologies to complement the implementation of a new general waste recycling facility in East Java, Indonesia.

The project aims to implement our proprietary modular chemical recycling unit to convert mechanically hard-to-recycle plastics into Plaxx® that can be used as a feedstock for plastic production.

Read more about the Alliance to End Plastic Waste

The story so far


Thermal cracking process development was conceptualised in 2011, with a bench-scale proof-of-concept demonstrated in 2013.

Having been continually upgraded over its lifetime, the MKII remains a valuable research & development asset today.

RT700 in Swindon

Pilot Plant - First Generation

The RT700 was the first near-commercial scale demonstration unit, and was brought into operation in 2016.

The first barrel of Plaxx was produced shortly thereafter, before the plant was relocated to Swindon Borough Council’s Household Recycling Centre later that year.

Pilot Plant - Second Generation

Technological development led to the commissioning of the Beta plant v1.0 in 2017 with significant upgrades.

RT700 Beta plant
Photo of the Recycling Technologies Beta plant in Swindon showing the plastic preparation module

Pilot Plant - Third Generation

Beta plant upgraded to v2.0 in 2019.

This version provides the design blueprint for the full-scale RT7000.

Future technology upgrades will continue to be trialled on the Beta plant before being deployed at commercial scale.