Concerted action to tackle plastic waste and ensure its recycling
The Circular Plastics Initiative aims to make plastics fully circular. To achieve this, it brings together organisations from every phase in the lifecycle of plastics. In its newest Integrated approach towards Recycling of Plastics (InReP) project, waste collectors, sorters & recyclers, chemical industry, end users and knowledge institutions join forces to develop technological solutions that make recycled materials which meet the quality standards of industry.
Plastics are a valuable material with functionalities that serve a sustainable society. They are light-weight, transparent and strong. They protect food from going to waste. They make vehicles lighter, which reduces the amount of CO₂ vehicles emit. And they make products durable. At the downside, plastic litter can be found all around the globe and destructs habitats, while the production relies on fossil resources and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. This calls for concerted action to tackle plastic waste and ensure its recycling.
“By working in an integrated approach, we develop value added and meaningful innovations that contribute to the whole system of plastics recycling.”Ronald Korstanje, Program Director of the Circular Plastics Initiative
Most food packaging cannot be recycled to food packaging
There are many different types of plastic that need to be sorted by type to guarantee high quality recycled materials. The situation now is that most of the plastic waste gets incinerated. The part that does get recycled often does not allow high-quality reuse. For example, only PET plastics from bottles can now be recycled again to PET bottles for food packaging. Other packaging plastics and packaging types are not suited to be recycled to food packaging.
To ensure proper recycling we need to develop new and environmentally friendly sorting and recycling technologies. When the recycling process is taken into account in the design phase of plastic packaging and products, the collection, sorting and recycling processes that follow can be adjusted accordingly. This will allow for plastic waste to be made into high quality recycled materials and be reused in production processes.
Boost for the availability of high-quality recycled materials
The InReP project focuses on the two dominating polymer types – polyolefins (PE/PP) and PET. By developing various technologies and progressing the processes from sorting to recycling of plastics, InReP will boost the availability of high-quality recycled materials which fits the industrial needs.
Contact Klaartje Rietkerken for more information.