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Present challenges

  • Plastics materials (e.g. PE, PP, and PET) are mainly produced from raw materials of fossil origin, and are used in a wide range of applications, thus creating a huge amount of plastic waste.

  • In 2016 over 27 MT of plastic waste was collected for further treatment.

  • Although the recycling efforts in the EU improved, landfill is still the first or second option of treatment for post-consumer plastic waste in most Member States.

  • There are different technological and non-technological barriers for plastic waste recycling.

Barries for plastic packaging

Technological barriers

  1. The existing sorting and waste management systems not able to separate plastics blends and composites

  2.  The lack of efficient and flexible valorisation technologies

  3. The heterogeneity of plastic difficult the mechanical recycling of these plastic materials

Non-technological barriers

  1. Plastic waste is generated at different points of the value chain.

  2. Existing standards are not homogeneous along Europe (e.g. Waste Directive and End of Waste Criteria).

Recycling and redesigning the plastics value chain are essential in reusing plastic waste material and avoiding landfill.

Contribution to the SPIRE Roadmap


polynSPIRE Goals

  • Enhance plastic recycling through a higher and more flexible usage of heterogeneous plastic waste.

  • More efficient energy usage by reducing energy use up to 68% during chemical recycling.

  • Decrease  the utilisation of primary fossil resources at least 32% in the polyamide and polyurethane sectors and reduce landfilling 25% in polyolefin sector.

  • Decrease CO2 equivalent emissions in the plastic sector between 30% and 40%.

  • Develop an optimisation and upscaling methodology based on life cycle studies.

  • Create roadmaps of cross-regional and cross-country strategies for plastic waste management and analyze the EC barriers on waste management (including non-technological barriers such as legislation and standardization).

SPIRE Roadmap

  • Optimal valorisation of waste, residues streams and recycled end-of-life material as feedstock.

  • Development of more efficient systems and equipment.

  • Process monitoring, control and optimisation.

  • Deeper knowledge of the processes at system level

  • A life cycle and costs perspective

  • Create efficient business models

  • Widespread dissemination of the results

polynSPIRE and the circular economy package

  • In 2018, the European Commission adopted a new set of measures, that will help transform Europe's economy to become more sustainable and that will support existing Circular Economy Action Plan

  • The new measures include a wide EU Strategy for Plastics in the Circular Economy that will help to transform a smart, innovative and sustainable plastics industry, where design and production fully respects the needs of reuse, repair and recycling.

  • polynSPIRE is supporting this effort by introducing a set of novel approaches to recycling and usage of raw materials

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