Meet the partner: Janez Slapnik from Skaza

Janez Slapnik is an Expert researcher at Skaza in the Research and Innovation department. With a strong sense of responsibility, he decided to devote his professional career to conducting high-quality applied research and development as well as the industrial implementation of innovative, sustainable polymeric materials. 

Can you shortly introduce your role in the INCREACE project?

Within the INCREACE project, I’m responsible for leading the research activities on behalf of Skaza.

How did Skaza get involved in the INCREACE project?

In the middle of 2021, we were contacted by Prof. Kim Ragaert, with whom we already collaborated on several internal projects related to recycled materials. Prof. Ragaert informed us that she is involved in the preparation of a project proposal on the topic of recycled materials and asked us if we would be interested in joining forces as part of the new project. Right after reading the first draft of the project proposal, we realised that the project perfectly fits our vision, mission, and our values. The decision on whether to join the project consortium was very easy. We informed Prof. Ragaert we would like to participate and set up a meeting, together with Gergana Dimitrova and Anton Berwald from the Fraunhofer institute, where we decided on our precise role and discussed the details. And this was the beginning of our story.

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

Within INCREACE we would first like to deepen our understanding of the general circular plastics economy, which will enable us to make more informed and sustainable business decisions, both from the perspectives of design from recycling and design for recycling. Second, we are aiming to concrete innovative solutions in terms of recycled polymeric materials intended for demanding and high-value added applications in the electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) sector, pioneering the field and becoming the first choice of our partners for developing sustainable solutions for EEE. Third, by working in a consortium consisting of Europe’s leading research institutions and industrial partners, we are aiming to strengthen our competencies in managing complex, international research projects and establish new partnerships.      

What is the role of Skaza in the INCREACE project?

The main role of Skaza is to lead one of the business cases, which aims to develop recycled polycarbonates (PC) and PC / acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) copolymer blend, containing a high share of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics that suffice strict UL 94 V0 flammability class. In addition, we are actively involved in several activities, from assigning recycling technologies to business cases and feedstock materials, creating circular product design guidelines, designing effective collection solutions with end users, analysing the value chain re-configuration, performing techno-economic assessments, to benchmarking business cases in existing plastic recycling landscape.

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

Together with mechanical recycling and dissolution technologies, chemical recycling will contribute to increasing the circularity of Electrical and Electronic devices. One clear objective is to improve the recycling yield of mixed plastics through chemical recycling, allowing Neste to consider WEEE streams to be added as part of our ambitious goal. This will improve the reliability and robustness of the advanced recycling technologies to enable processing of even more mixed waste plastic streams.

Furthermore, the results from Neste’s evaluation will be presented as guidelines to the other partners for Design-for-recycling and input for standardisation bodies, industries and policy makers.

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    This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grand agreement No 101058487