The recovery of polymer waste such as biomass, tires and plastics through thermal depolymerization (ie pyrolysis and liquefaction) and simultaneous or subsequent catalytic treatment has gained enormous momentum. The inherent barriers to using complex polymeric wastes or their products as feedstock have led researchers to conclude that a basic kinetic understanding is not possible at the catalytic stage. To solve the problems related to the complexity of the raw materials, the majority of researchers have chosen to use representative model compounds or probe molecules (i.e. replacement molecules). In this area, two main separate streams have emerged: one that focuses on basic kinetic understanding of model molecules and the other that focuses on the study of real raw materials. We wanted to bring these approaches together in order to use and recognize their potentials and disadvantages. We are therefore giving ten recommendations for using the existing synergies between the two approaches. This manuscript first contextualizes our proposed recommendations with a brief overview of the field of thermocatalytic recycling of polymer waste, the complex compositions of reactants and products, the advances in the individual areas of the model and real starting material, the comparisons of both types of raw materials and some history of hydrocarbon conversion. We then present guidelines for genuinely collaborative and synergetic research.