Economic analysis of the circular economy based on waste plastic pyrolysis oil: a case of the university campus

Hayoung Park, Kayoung Kim, Mirae Yu, Zhihao Yun, Sanghun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recently, the concept of a circular economy for carbon neutrality is emerging. In particular, waste plastics are one of the key wastes, and efforts are being made to recycle them as energy rather than dispose of them. Accordingly, the technology of producing and utilizing pyrolysis oil from waste plastics attracts attention. As it is an early stage of technology development, however, there are not many demonstrations and papers that analyze the technology broadly. The goal of this study is to propose building a circular economy on a university campus through waste plastic pyrolysis oil technology. To show its feasibility, waste plastic pyrolysis oil technology is analyzed comprehensively from economic, environmental, and policy perspectives using the scenario analysis technique on the university campus level. A methodology of the scenario analysis technique enables predicting the uncertainties. Since plastic pyrolysis oil technologies and carbon neutrality are accompanied by many uncertainties, this technique is expected to be an appropriate methodology for this study. First, the amount of pyrolysis oil production from waste plastics from the campus is estimated. Then, the cost and carbon emissions from waste plastics are estimated if the pyrolysis oil technology is used instead of the traditional waste disposal process. As a result, the total economic profits of up to 425,484,022 won/year (354,570.01 $/year) are expected when a circular economy is built using waste plastic pyrolysis oil. In addition, it is also confirmed that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be reduced by up to 840,891 kgCO2eq/year. The waste plastic pyrolysis oil satisfies Korea’s gas pollutant standards and is consistent with the GHG reduction policy. It can be concluded that building a circular economy at the university campus level using waste plastic pyrolysis oil technology is suitable from economic, environmental, and policy perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6293-6313
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. 2023.

Keywords

  • Carbon credits
  • Circular economy
  • Plastic recycling
  • Scenario analysis
  • Waste plastic pyrolysis oil

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