Energy-environment-economic (3E) hub for sustainable plastic management – Upgraded recycling, chemical valorization, and bioplastics

Raffel Dharma Patria, Shazia Rehman, Chun Bong Yuen, Duu Jong Lee, Arun K. Vuppaladadiyam, Shao Yuan Leu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This research aims to clarify the energy, environment, and economic (3E) aspects of petroleum-based plastics, bioplastics, and all end-of-life methods including landfill, incineration, composting, and recycling. Production and utilization of bioplastic, associated with recycling techniques to produce valuable building block chemicals, are considered as long-term solutions to the plastic crisis. However, this target seems to be unachievable in decades mostly due to unclear information on energy consumption and operational costs of different techniques. Although numerous studies of life cycle analysis (LCA) of bioplastics have been published in literature, the energy and environmental impacts of bioplastics are still uncertain, due to the non-standardization of the analyses. To standardize the current findings, this study proposed a novel standardization method and categorized the latest life cycle studies to correlate the energy requirement, global warming potential, and paramount factors which significantly influence the environmental impact of bioplastics production. Economic considerations were evaluated through standardization of independent techno-economic studies in literature, followed by a comparative analysis of the profitability between traditional waste management practices, such as landfilling and incineration, and recycling. Finally, it was found that recycling is beneficial from energy, environmental, and economic perspectives, but some assessments were based on ideal assumptions where efficiency of recycling and logistics of plastic waste collection was high. Real-life applications of recycling and bio-based plastics are hindered by various challenges. Overcoming these challenges may be the key to creating sustainable circular bioeconomy of plastics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122543
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024


  • Carbon neutrality
  • Life-cycle assessment
  • Plastic-to-energy
  • Standardization
  • Techno-economic assessment
  • Waste management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Energy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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