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 used in new products on the EU market. However, achieving this goal requires significant improvements in the plastic recycling value chain, from waste collection to product design and market demand.

About INCREACE

The INCREACE project, an interdisciplinary initiative funded by the European Union, aims to develop innovative solutions to improve the plastic recycling value chain. The project involves multiple activities across different work packages, all aimed at creating a more sustainable and circular plastic economy.

The challenges & INCREACE solutions

One of the key challenges facing the plastic recycling value chain is the low collection rate of plastic waste, with only 8.4 million tonnes of plastics collected for recycling in 2016. To address this issue, INCREACE is developing new data-driven sorting solutions to improve the quality of recycled materials. The project is using advanced sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence to sort plastic waste based on its material properties, enabling more efficient and effective sorting.

Another challenge is the low demand for recycled plastics, particularly in added value applications. To increase demand, INCREACE is working to develop new business models that support the circular economy. The project is identifying new markets for recycled plastics, developing new products and services, and exploring new ways of working across the plastic recycling value chain. By creating new business models, the project aims to increase the use of recycled plastics in added value products.

In addition to addressing collection and demand challenges, INCREACE partners have joined forces to increase the recycling yield of plastics. The project is optimizing and analyzing three main recycling technologies: mechanical, chemical, and solvent-based. By finding the best combinations of secondary raw materials, technologies, and product specifications, INCREACE aims to increase the amount/share of plastic waste that is successfully recycled.

To create transparency along the recycled plastics value chain, INCREACE is introducing new digital verification methods, such as blockchain. This enables transparent traceability and identification of the origin of recycled materials, creating the required trust in the industry. By promoting transparency and traceability, the project  encourages more manufacturers and consumers to use recycled plastics.

Finally, INCREACE is engaging with stakeholders across different sectors to promote the circular plastic transition. The project is raising awareness about the benefits of plastic recycling and addressing concerns or misconceptions about recycled plastics. By fostering active and inclusive engagement of all relevant stakeholders, INCREACE aims to create a more sustainable and circular plastic economy.

Innovative solutions

The INCREACE project represents a major step towards achieving the European Union’s goal of ensuring that 10 million tonnes of recycled plastics are used in new products on the EU market by 2025. By developing innovative solutions to improve the plastic recycling value chain, INCREACE is helping to create a more sustainable and circular economy. With its interdisciplinary approach, the project is demonstrating the power of collaboration and innovation in addressing global environmental challenges.

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Get in touch

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

    Get in touch

    Projectcoordinator

    Gergana Dimitrova

    Fraunhofer Institute for for Reliability and Microintegration IZM

    Gustav-Meyer-Allee 25

    13355 Berlin, Germany