Identifying cutting-edge plastic recycling technologies

Identifying cutting-edge plastic recycling technologies

About the Client:

The Client is a large energy company that develops, constructs, and operates renewable energy power plants and energy storage facilities globally.

The Challenge:

The Client engaged PreScouter to help them learn about the landscape of commercial and near-term commercial technologies in plastics recycling, which includes:

  • Recovering, sorting, and recycling plastics
  • Technologies under R&D that affect multiple stages or eliminate steps in the current process 
  • Gasification of mixed plastics into products

While the Client was interested in most technologies and research that might impact these activities, some special areas of interest included:

  • Novel biological treatments 
  • Chemical treatments 
  • Thermal treatments or mechanical solutions

The challenge of this Client engagement was to cover a broad research area while diving deep into specific technologies, which required the PreScouter team to do a great deal of in-depth primary research.


After multiple discussions with the Client to ascertain the goals of the project, PreScouter employed a 2-step approach to the challenge:

  1. First, PreScouter identified potential technologies of interest by looking into startup- and research-level technologies using sources such as startup databases, web presentations, white papers, patents, and publications in peer-reviewed journals. These technologies were described, based on information available through the public domain, in short reports.
  2. The second phase of the project began with further consultations with the Client to identify which technologies were of the most interest to them. The PreScouter team then performed a deep dive that included reaching out to the researchers to secure any missing data or information as well as to understand their current status, progress, goals, and willingness to collaborate with an established player in the field.


PreScouter presented 5 deliverables to the Client, including 4 Intelligence Briefs and 1 Summary Report, in which the team identified a total of 42 companies that may be of interest to the Client. In consultation with PreScouter, the Client shortlisted and selected 20 companies to reach out to.

From this research, PreScouter sketched out the treatment landscape and the market concentration and mapped each technology’s position in the value chain, with representative companies and applicable plastics.

Impact of PreScouter work:

Through PreScouter’s outreach to get proprietary information and obtain the necessary data to evaluate the Client’s goals, the PreScouter team helped the Client quickly develop a strategy for plastic recycling implementation.

A downloadable version of this case study is available here.

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