Meet the partner: Giulia Sora from Erion

Erion is the largest Italian Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for the management of WEEE, waste batteries, packaging waste and tobacco products filters and the valorisation of the raw materials within it.

Can you shortly introduce your role in the INCREACE project?

I am Giulia Sora, energy engineer and part of the Strategic Development & Innovation team of Erion. In my daily work, I follow the implementation of research activities and the development of innovation projects, focusing on the field of Circular Economy and dealing with technological and systemic innovation in the Waste from Electric and Electronic Appliance (WEEE) and waste batteries sector. I will work as researcher in the INCREACE project, and my activities will be coordinated by Luca Campadello, Manager of the team.

How did Erion get involved in the INCREACE project?

I know very well that WEEE plastic is a challenging material flow and that in order to increase WEEE plastic recycling and PCR WEEE plastic uptake in new products, it is important to put effort in research activities. For this reason, Erion has been already involved in two very important H2020 projects on WEEE plastic recycling: PolyCE (Post-Consumer High-tech Recycled Polymers for a Circular Economy) and NONTOX (Removing hazardous substances to increase recycling rates of WEEE, ELV and CDW plastics). These projects have yielded very interesting and useful results in terms of knowledge generation and testing the introduction of technological and process innovations in the field of plastic recycling. But, most importantly, being partners of these projects gave Erion the possibility of getting in touch and strengthening the collaboration with relevant academic and industrial actors committed to improve the sustainability of the WEEE plastic value chain.

How do you see the added value of INCREACE for Erion?

Erion has a very deep expertise and knowledge of the WEEE management sector, and I am looking forward to sharing it with the other INCREACE partners. Moreover, I intend to bring into the INCREACE consortium the industry’s point of view and to play a specific role as a link between the needs of the EEE producers (who are Erion members), for example in terms of “design-from-recycling” and material performance requirements, and the needs of the WEEE pre-treatment companies (who are Erion suppliers), for example on “design-for-recycling“. Of course, Erion will also transfer to the INCREACE consortium the know-how gained from its participation in previous research projects, such as PolyCE and NONTOX.

What is the role of Erion in the INCREACE project?

Erion will be involved in several INCREACE activities. For instance, Erion will support the development of collection, sorting and dismantling procedures for WEEE (e.g., defining clustering criteria) and will test their effectiveness in a real industrial environment (e.g., at WEEE pre-treatment operators’ facilities). Erion will contribute to the development of the traceability solutions for recycled materials, mapping products and materials value chains and assessing which data are needed as input and which data can be provided as output by each EEE/WEEE value chain actor. We will contribute as well to standardisation and certification work for circular plastic in the EEE sector, also consulting relevant stakeholders (e.g. Circular Plastic Alliance, APPLiA Europe) and disseminating results within standardisation bodies (e.g. CENELEC). We will support the development of strategies to increase WEEE collection, primarily sharing knowledge about previous collection campaigns and previous research initiatives/studies on the topic of consumers behavior. Additionally, Erion will cooperate in the Business Cases development, especially in the one related to the medical application, coordinated by Philips.

What do you hope to achieve by the end of the project?

I strongly believe INCREACE will help us to achieve several relevant objectives. For example, I expect that through the project activities, it will be possible to elaborate a strategy that EPR schemes like us can adopt to improve WEEE collection performance. Moreover, I hope that INCREACE will identify an effective solution that WEEE pre-treatment operators can implement to produce high-quality materials (as well as a methodology that all the actors of the value chain can use to verify the quality of PCR WEEE plastic). Finally, I believe that tools such as the Circular Product Design Guidelines that will be developed along the project can stimulate producers of electronic appliances to use recycled plastic in new products. Overall, I see participation in the INCREACE consortium as a very valuable opportunity to establish a fruitful and sustainable cooperation and knowledge transfer mechanism among all actors of the EEE/WEEE value chain!

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