LONDON (ICIS)--Re-designing plastic products and using plastics waste as a resource are crucial elements in a circular economy, European plastics trade groups and the region’s chemicals sustainability promotion platform SusChem said on Thursday.
The report would represent a shared vision of how collaboration in the plastic value chain will be a driving force of the circular economy in plastics, according to its promoters.
The report ‘Plastics Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda in a Circular Economy’ outlines the research needed to meet the objectives of the EU’s Plastics Strategy, SusChem, Cefic, PlasticsEurope, European Plastics Converters (EuPC) and the European Composites, Plastics and Polymer Processing Platform (ECP4), added.
Plastics consumption and waste production data show that there is “clear room for improvement” in recycling and resource recovery, the groups behind the report say.
Europe uses about 50m tonnes/year of plastics, the report said.
In 2016, 27m tonnes of plastics waste was collected in Europe, with 8.3m tonnes going to recycling facilities and 11.3m tonnes treated for energy recovery.
The report added that 27% of the total plastics used in Europe were sent to landfill.
“The report identifies the challenges to plastics circularity and defines the types of solutions needed to address them. Future research is required in three main areas: Circularity by design, recycling and alternative feedstock,” SusChem said.
SusChem chairman Markus Steilemann, who is also the chairman of Germany's chemicals major Covestro, said that the plastics industry is committed to increase the resource efficiency of its production processes, and to face the challenge of closing the circularity loop.
"The new Research and Innovation Agenda gives fresh impetus on the strongest way to drive progress along plastics value chains by means of collaboration,” Steilemann said.