The difficulty of plastic waste and its effect on the ecosystem desires to be urgently dealt with. EU-funded research is looking at ways of generating a more sustainable plastic packaging lifestyle cycle to lower the effect of plastic waste.


© Saponia, 2017

Plastic packaging accounts for close to forty % of the total desire for plastic in Europe. Whilst work is becoming finished to recover and recycle plastic waste, the EU continue to makes twenty five million tonnes of it each yr, of which only 30 % is recycled, 39 % is incinerated and 31 % ends up in landfill.

Companions in the EU-funded CIRC-PACK project have established by themselves the task of generating a more sustainable plastic packaging value chain by doing work on quite a few fronts to build new and more sustainable goods, processes and company styles.

‘CIRC-PACK provides with each other partners from just about every stage of the plastic packaging cycle,’ states project manager Montserrat Lanero of Fundación CIRCE: Centro de Investigación de Recursos y Consumos Energeticos in Spain. ‘Our goal is to create new associations among the various partners that direct to enhancements in the total technique and lay the foundations of a new bio-primarily based value chain.’

New resources and better recyclability

The project is exploring and developing new feedstocks not primarily based on fossil fuels but on cleaner, more eco-welcoming options. This will allow the production of new-generation bio-primarily based plastic packaging produced fully of raw resources from renewable resources and recycled waste, this kind of as trays, bottles, espresso capsules, jars, automobile pieces and pallets. These resources will also be biodegradable and compostable.

On top of that, partners are doing work to lower as a great deal as feasible the waste created at just about every stage of the value chain, reworking it into new sources that could be reintroduced into the cycle in line with the principles of a circular financial system.

CIRC-PACK’s targets – improving upon recyclability, maximizing biodegradability and supporting the production of new bio-primarily based and compostable plastics – are focused on improving upon soon after-use plastic financial system as a result of a multi-sectorial solution, in 3 key sectors: the automotive, production and recycling of absorbent cleanliness goods, and packaging film.

In addition, steps will strengthen present sorting and recycling processes as a result of an on the net monitoring technique, created in the course of the CIRC-PACK project. This will strengthen the restoration costs and high quality reliability of the recycled resources in line with the specifications of the possible conclude-users.

Business prospects

In the automobile sector, the project is doing work closely with brands to strengthen the recycling price of plastic-primarily based factors of vehicles and strengthen processes to recover and reuse them.

The group is also doing work with producers to valorise the cellulose waste from the recycling of absorbent cleanliness goods, therefore generating bio-primarily based and biodegradable polymers from a thing that right until now has been considered to be purely waste.
New eco-design of packaging is also becoming executed to lower the conclude-of-lifestyle effect of multi-content and multilayer packaging, and to facilitate the separation of resources for recycling.

In addition, the course of action of collecting, classifying and recovering plastic waste will be re-evaluated in accordance to the new design to boost effectiveness and raise the proportion of waste that is recycled. CIRC-PACK will analyse present lawful constraints, bottlenecks and other non-technological obstacles that are hindering the optimisation of this value chain.

‘We be expecting CIRC-PACK to create new company prospects, for huge firms and SMEs, both within just the project and more greatly. We want to alter the point of view from thinking of the merchandise on its very own to conceiving it as portion of the production, usage, disposal technique,’ states Lanero.

The total aim is to boost changeover to a circular financial system – 1 that contributes to the EU’s waste management and recycling targets by 2030.