INCREACE project has started!

Background

Increasing the share of recycled plastics in new products is a central aspect of the European Strategy for Plastics, adopted by the European Commission in 2018 as a part of the first Circular Economy Action Plan (2015). One of the main goals of the Strategy is to “ensure that by 2025 10 million tonnes of recycled plastics find their way into new products on the EU market”[1], against less than 4 million tonnes in 2016[2].

In 2016, only 5.3 million tonnes of plastics went to EU recycling facilities as input material. After the recycling process, the output mass is generally 1-2 times lower. For this reason, the collection rate and the yield have to improve significantly. Also, more collected material needs to reach recycling facilities instead of being incinerated, landfilled or exported. Furthermore, the demand for recycled plastics needs a boost, especially in added value applications such as electrical and electronic equipment (EEE). Currently, the main sectors using recycled plastics are the building and construction sector (46%), the packaging sector (24%) and the agriculture sector (13%). On the other hand, only 2% of today’s recyclates are used in EEE. This corresponds to around 80,000 tonnes of recycled plastics in new EEE, against an annual theoretical market potential of 2,100,000 tonnes[3] in the EU.

About the project

INCREACE is a project funded by the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA) of the European Commission under the Horizon Europe Cluster 4 programme.

The project aims at increasing the uptake of recycled plastics in various products through innovative and interdisciplinary solutions along the plastics recycling value chain embedded in a systemic framework with a focus on EEE. By using (in principle) recycled plastics from electrical and electronic waste (WEEE), the INCREACE project will tackle areas where the use of recycled plastics is marginal today. At the heart of the project, there are 5 business cases including challenging applications in the EEE sector (e.g. food contact, medical applications, ESD and UL94 flammability standards, high-tech plastic components in EEE. To solve the technical, economic and legal challenges INCREACE brings together key actors from different sectors, such as researchers, recyclers (mechanical, chemical, solvent-based), product designers, material and component manufacturers, OEMs, software developers, an EPR system and consultants. The project will combine technologies and methodologies from different disciplines to show that focused actions along the entire value chain can effectively lead to more post-consumer plastics in added-value products such as electrical and electronic equipment.

Our approach

The project partners will develop new data-driven sorting solutions to prevent potentially hazardous substances to enter the recycled plastics system and combine complementary recycling technologies (mechanical, chemical and solvent based) to increase the overall recycling yield. Traceability is essential; therefore, the project will rely on an innovative blockchain approach.  The overall concept will be applied to and validated by the specific business cases. INCREACE will also analyse implications of systematic changes in the plastic industry from an economic, regulatory, technological and material perspective. The project will furthermore empower people and communities to play their role in the circular plastics transition by engaging them to improve waste plastics collection and to increase the demand for products containing recycled plastics. The impact of the generated knowledge and results will be scaled up through targeted inputs into standardisation work (e.g. definition of recyclates, traceability and verification methods, quality control, characterisation of suitability for specific applications, etc.), policy making and active and inclusive engagement of all relevant stakeholders as actors of the circular plastic transition. By this means, INCREACE will contribute to the EU Plastics Strategy, the first and second Circular Economy Action Plan and the Green Deal which calls for particular action within resource-intensive sectors such as electronics and plastics[4].

In the next months, we will focus on defining the technical requirements and volumes of plastic waste for the production of recycled products, mapping the stakeholders and value chain for each of the business cases and selecting the correct recycling technologies for each product line. With our interdisciplinary and data-driven approach, we believe we can tackle this challenge and make recyclates the new feedstock for our society. Stay tuned!

Partners

[1] European Commission (2018) – A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy – Annex III (1)

[2] European Commission (2019) – Assessment report of the voluntary pledges under Annex III of the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy

[3] PlasticsEurope (2019) – The Circular Economy for Plastics – A European Overview (p. 26)

[4] European Commission COM(2019) 640 final – The European Green Deal

INCREACE-start-team
INCREACE-results

Related news

Work Package 3: Circular product design

Work Package 3: Circular product design

Work Package (WP) 3 looks at the challenge from a design/er perspective. We interviewed WP 3 leaders M.Sc. Eduard Wagner from Fraunhofer IZM and Thijs Feenstra from Pezy Group about their activities and role in the project.Can you introduce yourself? Eduard Wagner: "I...

read more
Work package 2: Advanced recycling technologies

Work package 2: Advanced recycling technologies

Work package 2 leaders Dr. Martin Schlummer and Laura Strobl are working at the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV. Fraunhofer is the leading organisation for applied research in Europe, undertaking contract research on behalf of industry,...

read more
Podcast ‘Trash Talkin’!’

Podcast ‘Trash Talkin’!’

Our sister project, PRIMUS, has launched the podcast 'Trash Talkin'!'. In this podcast series you will explore a wide range of topics, from recycling in Europe to interesting sustainable initiatives. In this episode, our partner Fraunhofer IZM, Theresa Aigner and...

read more
Workshop on design for and from recycling

Workshop on design for and from recycling

In order to increase the share of plastic recyclates in consumer goods design is key! But what can currently be done, what should I pay attention to when designing with second life materials? In this workshop we will provide latest insights on the state of the art of...

read more
The role of the Advisory Board of INCREACE

The role of the Advisory Board of INCREACE

In the dynamic landscape of research and innovation, projects under Horizon Europe often benefit from the strategic guidance and external perspectives offered by Advisory Boards. These boards play a pivotal role in steering projects towards success by providing...

read more
Transforming the Plastic Recycling Value Chain

Transforming the Plastic Recycling Value Chain

Plastic waste is a global environmental challenge, with an estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean each year. To address this issue, the European Union has set an ambitious goal to ensure that by 2025, 10 million tonnes of recycled plastics are...

read more
Work package 5: Circular Society

Work package 5: Circular Society

Flora Poppelaars and Jos Vlugter are industrial design engineers specialized in consumer behaviour in the transition to a circular economy. They work as consultants in the Circular Economy team of Partners for Innovation, a Dutch consultancy for sustainable and...

read more
EU Policy Impact on EEE Sector’s Circular Plastics Uptake

EU Policy Impact on EEE Sector’s Circular Plastics Uptake

As part of their INCREACE research focusing on the impact of changes in EEE (Electrical and Electronic Equipment) rules and regulations on recycling, the research team consisting of David Pfeffer, Denise Reike and Catharina Bening from ETH Zurich (SusTec) will be...

read more
First anniversary increace project

First anniversary increace project

On 1st of June, the INCREACE project celebrated its first anniversary. The past 12 months of continuous efforts have proven successful: The INCREACE consortium joined forces to tackle a common objective, namely to increase recycled content in added value products for...

read more

Get in touch

For more info about the INCREACE project, please feel free to get in touch with us.

    Get in touch

    Projectcoordinators

    Theresa Marie Aigner & Ronja Scholz

    Fraunhofer Institute for for Reliability and Microintegration IZM

    Gustav-Meyer-Allee 25

    13355 Berlin, Germany