Plastics project: Potential CO2 reduction of 2.9M tons in Europe

Climate-KIC partner TU Delft works closely with plastics processors in Germany and the Benelux to find new ways to reduce CO2 emissions.

The High Quality Plastics Recycling and Re-use Platform (PRRP) focuses on maximising the commercial use of small quantities of virgin plastics which are currently sent to landfill, incineration or low grade recycling.

The project is part of Climate-KIC’s Climate Market Accelerator (CMA) programme, which funds pilot projects that unlock demand for climate solutions by engaging directly with innovation buyers.

Online community

Climate-KIC partner TU Delft is developing an online community of plastics processing companies to exchange leftover virgin plastics for re-use and recycling.

This initiative is part of the Climate Market Accelerator (CMA), a Climate-KIC programme designed to accelerate the development of innovative products and services that help to address climate change.

Demand side

Plastic processing companies currently discard a significant proportion of plastic feedstock. The product specifications of these ‘rest’ plastics are known and are therefore more valuable than material of unknown quality.

The aim is to create an online exchange platform which details the product specification to build a community that can exchange plastics is an easy and simple manner.

Initial meetings with plastic converters came up with an online exchange platform as the most suitable method to trade their ‘rest’ plastics which are currently discarded as waste.

An additional approach to build and help strengthen the plastics processor community is by maximising the use rest plastics in products through delivery of an interactive learning module which focuses on the use of rest plastics in the design phase.

Climate challenge and impact

The geographical focus of the project is Germany and the Benelux. Here an estimated 300.000 tons of plastics are still being discarded as waste.

Recycling and re-use of plastics reduces the emission of CO2. With 2.2 kg CO2/kg from polypropylene and Nylon-6 with 8.3 kg CO2/kg.

If we consider plastic waste as averaged to the CO2 intensity of Polypropylene, then 660.000 tons of CO2 can be saved in this region per year.

For Europe this would be 2.9 million ton CO2 /year, and a conservative estimate for retrieving plastic products for high grade recycling it is estimated the total would be roughly 5.8 million ton/year.

The results

A tangible output of this project is an online platform, viewable at www.polyring.org. At the moment the site is in its initial phase and a second design of web platform will be developed in spring 2014.

A non-tangible result the project is the development of a method to encourage demand-side actors to exchange products or services relating to the use of rest materials. The software will be available for all Climate-KIC partners.

The project is set to finish in December 2014.

Future development

It is planned to enlarge the scope of the activity following communication with several plastic converters which suggests that an exchange of non-plastics products e.g. pallets and packaging, will also be potentially successful.

The website has also been introduced into other communities, such as users of plastic products, to see how it can support further interactions with the online community.

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