Last June, PlasticsEurope, the business association representing active polymer manufacturers in the plastics sector in Europe, published the report “The circular economy of plastics – A European vision“.

Developed within the framework of the PlasticsEurope Plastics 2030 Voluntary Commitment, this document provides an overview of plastics production, transformation into parts and products, waste collection and treatment, including recycling in the European region.

Also, it addresses the production of recycled materials and their use in different applications, shows the evolution of the treatment of certain waste from 2006 to 2018 and concludes by proposing a roadmap to advance towards sustainability in this area.

 

What is the circular economy of plastics?

According to the PlasticsEurope document, the circular economy of plastics is understood as a closed system model that promotes the reuse of plastic products, generates value from waste and avoids the shipment of recoverable plastics to landfills.

One of the main challenges facing the plastics sector is to find alternatives to replace fossil resources with renewable sources. Plastic waste is a valuable resource that can be used to produce new plastic raw materials and to manufacture plastic products and parts. They can also serve to generate energy when recycling is not feasible.

Through the circular economy model, a new approach is proposed along the entire value chain (from product design to recycling) that focuses on increasing the rate of waste converted into recycled, maximizing resource efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Beyond traditional studies on recycling

Studies such as “The circular economy of plastics – A European vision” aim to contribute to establishing a line of knowledge on plastic waste and a better understanding of the circular economy of these products.

Data collected between 2006 and 2018 reflect clear progress in the amount of post-consumer plastic waste sent for recycling over the last decade. But, despite this, the report points out that it is necessary “to continue increasing efforts to achieve greater circularity in the plastics industry.

Combining legislative measures, investments in innovative technologies and sectoral initiatives is key to fully developing the potential of plastics in this new economic model. This is indicated in the PlasticsEurope document, which also underlines the need to move towards a double objective: to increase recycling rates and promote the incorporation of recycled materials.

The involvement of the entire plastics value chain – from plastics producers and processors to brand owners, and from consumers to waste management companies – is essential, as is the support of policy makers to create , in Europe, a legal, technological and economic environment that encourages the incorporation of recycled plastics and promotes the circular economy”, highlights the study.

PICVISA is a supplier specialized in the design, manufacture and supply of optical separation equipment for the classification of materials, recovery and recovery of waste.

The ECOPACK optical separator is one of the solutions in the catalog that allows to automatically separate various types of materials – such as PET, HDPE, brik, among others – by composition (NIR), color (VIS) and / or shape (deep learning).

Check the report “The circular economy of plastics – A European vision“, here.