While secondary plastics that result from the production and processing are recycled - given their high purity - to a large degree in the production process, secondary plastics generated after the product use are fed to a much lesser extent into a material recycling. Instead, in Germany the energy recovery of secondary plastics has been dominating for some time. The reason for this unsatisfactory situation is rather complex.
Plastics are chemical materials which are specially equipped by a wide range of ingredients and additives according to their specific final use. These additives can restrict recyclability in general or for specific sensitive applications (e.g. the use of recycled materials in food packaging). Factors like the difficulty of producing homogenous recyclates from mixed plastics and plastics modified during production, as well as the aspect of economic efficiency and competition in treatment technologies lead to many different barriers against an increase in the mechanical recycling.
Therefore the project "Development of instruments and policy measures to increase the use of secondary resources" aims to analyse how the use of recycled materials with a focus on secondary plastics (and possibly other secondary raw materials) can be increased and whether and under which conditions these materials can be diverted from residual waste or thermal recovery in order to increase material recycling. In the end practical and feasible measures to increase material recycling shall be be developed.