CO₂-mediated thermal treatment of disposable plastic food containers

Sungyup JUNG, Yiu Fai TSANG, Dohee KWON, Dongho CHOI, Wei-Hsin CHEN, Yong-Hyun KIM, Deok Hyun MOON, Eilhann E. KWON

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In accordance with global economic prosperity, the frequencies of food delivery and takeout orders have been increasing. The pandemic life, specifically arising from COVID-19, rapidly expanded the food delivery service. Thus, the massive generation of disposable plastic food containers has become significant environmental problems. Establishing a sustainable disposal platform for plastic packaging waste (PPW) of food delivery containers has intrigued particular interest. To comprise this grand challenge, a reliable thermal disposable platform has been suggested in this study. From the pyrolysis process, a heterogeneous plastic mixture of PPW was converted into syngas and value-added hydrocarbons (HCs). PPW collected from five different restaurants consisted of polypropylene (36.9 wt%), polyethylene (10.5 wt%), polyethylene terephthalate (18.1 wt%), polystyrene (13.5 wt%), polyvinyl chloride (4.2 wt%), and other composites (16.8 wt%). Due to these compositional complexities, pyrolysis of PPW led to formations of a variety of benzene derivatives and aliphatic HCs. Adapting multi-stage pyrolysis, the different chemicals were converted into industrial chemicals (benzene, toluene, styrene, etc.). To selectively convert HCs into syngas (H₂ and CO), catalytic pyrolysis was adapted using supported Ni catalyst (5 wt% Ni/SiO₂). Over Ni catalyst, H₂ was produced as a main product due to Csingle bondH bond scission of HCs. When CO₂ was used as a co-reactant, HCs were further transformed to H₂ and CO through the chemical reactions of CO₂ with gas phase HCs. CO₂-assisted catalytic pyrolysis also retarded catalyst deactivation inhibiting coke deposition on Ni catalyst. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number138603
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Issue numberPt. 1
Early online date13 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2023


Jung, S., Tsang, Y. F., Kwon, D., Choi, D., Chen, W.-H., Kim, Y.-H., . . . Kwon, E. E. (2023). CO₂-mediated thermal treatment of disposable plastic food containers. Chemical Engineering Journal, 451(Pt. 1). Retrieved from


  • Circular economy
  • Waste valorization
  • Waste-to-energy
  • Plastic packaging waste
  • Catalytic pyrolysis
  • Food waste


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