Quality Standards for Recycled Plastic as Enabler of Zero Waste Systems

  • Project no.351049
  • Duration 01/2017 - 12/2017

The project addressed the low material recovery rates for plastics, as inter alia highlighted by the European Commission's Circular Economy Action Plan, that present missed opportunities for significant eductions of CO2-emissions alongside the plastic value chain. Technical solutions for recycling of plastic have been developed over the last years, allowing automatic sorting of mixed plastic waste into specific plastic type fractions and colours. At the same time the industry is highly interested in an increased of recycled plastics due to average cost saving potentials of ca. 20 per cent. Nevertheless besides PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) only a share of less than 20 per cent of plastic waste is actually recycled.
The pathfinder project "RegioPlast" addressed a key barrier for closing the plastic loop: the lack of common quality standards for recycled plastic that causes high transaction costs for the supply as well as the demand side. Bringing together key stakeholders from the recycling industry and plastic-using industry has enabled the development of key quality parameters for recycled plastic quality standards. Such standards could make secondary plastics more competitive and lead to an increased uptake of such materials as well as to additional investments in innovative recycling technologies. Additional industry partners have ensured the validation and market readiness of project results.
The project had the following specific objectives, addressed in 4 work packages:

  1. Analyse the role of plastics in an European as well as regional circular economy, including the analysis of existing business models (coordinated by the Wuppertal Institute)
  2. Identify and discuss key barriers for the uptake of secondary plastics with the stakeholders and analyse their impacts (coordinated by the Wuppertal Institute)
  3. Regional Stakeholder Workshop for the specification of key requirements for quality criteria of secondary plastics and the identification new business models for regional plastic recycling (coordinated by the Greencycle GmbH)
  4. Summarise and disseminate the results incl. develop future options for a circular plastic system (coordinated by the Wuppertal Institute)

EIT Climate-KIC

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