Closing the circle on plastic waste – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

The issue of plastic squander and its impact on the surroundings desires to be urgently addressed. EU-funded investigation is on the lookout at ways of creating a a lot more sustainable plastic packaging life cycle to lower the impact of plastic squander.

© Saponia, 2017

Plastic packaging accounts for close to 40 % of the overall demand for plastic in Europe. Though perform is being done to recover and recycle plastic squander, the EU nonetheless produces twenty five million tonnes of it just about every calendar year, of which only 30 % is recycled, 39 % is incinerated and 31 % finishes up in landfill.

Companions in the EU-funded CIRC-PACK task have established on their own the job of creating a a lot more sustainable plastic packaging price chain by doing work on many fronts to develop new and a lot more sustainable items, processes and organization styles.

‘CIRC-PACK brings jointly associates from every action of the plastic packaging cycle,’ states task supervisor Montserrat Lanero of Fundación CIRCE: Centro de Investigación de Recursos y Consumos Energeticos in Spain. ‘Our purpose is to build new relationships among the unique associates that direct to improvements in the full system and lay the foundations of a new bio-based price chain.’

New materials and improved recyclability

The task is exploring and acquiring new feedstocks not based on fossil fuels but on cleaner, a lot more eco-welcoming alternatives. This will allow the production of new-technology bio-based plastic packaging created solely of uncooked materials from renewable sources and recycled squander, these kinds of as trays, bottles, espresso capsules, jars, car or truck areas and pallets. These materials will also be biodegradable and compostable.

On top of that, associates are doing work to lower as much as probable the squander produced at every action of the price chain, reworking it into new methods that could be reintroduced into the cycle in line with the concepts of a round financial state.

CIRC-PACK’s objectives – strengthening recyclability, enhancing biodegradability and supporting the production of new bio-based and compostable plastics – are concentrated on strengthening after-use plastic financial state by a multi-sectorial solution, in three primary sectors: the automotive, production and recycling of absorbent hygiene items, and packaging film.

In addition, steps will enhance present sorting and recycling processes by an on the net monitoring system, formulated during the CIRC-PACK task. This will enhance the recovery prices and excellent reliability of the recycled materials in line with the needs of the prospective conclude-customers.

Business enterprise options

In the automobile sector, the task is doing work intently with makers to enhance the recycling price of plastic-based parts of autos and enhance processes to recover and reuse them.

The staff is also doing work with producers to valorise the cellulose squander from the recycling of absorbent hygiene items, thereby creating bio-based and biodegradable polymers from something that till now has been deemed to be purely squander. New eco-structure of packaging is also being implemented to lower the conclude-of-life impact of multi-material and multilayer packaging, and to facilitate the separation of materials for recycling.

In addition, the system of collecting, classifying and recovering plastic squander will be re-evaluated according to the new structure to strengthen effectiveness and maximize the proportion of squander that is recycled. CIRC-PACK will analyse present lawful constraints, bottlenecks and other non-technological boundaries that are hindering the optimisation of this price chain.

‘We count on CIRC-PACK to build new organization options, for substantial companies and SMEs, equally in just the task and a lot more commonly. We want to improve the perspective from thinking of the item on its have to conceiving it as aspect of the production, consumption, disposal system,’ states Lanero.

The overall goal is to boost transition to a round financial state – 1 that contributes to the EU’s squander management and recycling targets by 2030.