First PolyCE Workshop on Plastics Recycling
The first PolyCE workshop took place on June 26th in Essen, Germany. The event was part of the project’s action plan for establishing a strategic convergence and collaboration of all actors operating across the plastics value chain.
After a year since PolyCE’s launch, the event brought together WEEE pre-treatment operators, plastics recyclers, policy makers and researchers to inform on the project’s current findings and future direction towards an effective circularity of high-tech plastics from WEEE ( Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) along the entire supply chain.
The event was organized by the Italian WEEE compliance scheme ECODOM, with the support of the United Nations University and with contribution from all the other project partners.
The workshop was articulated around two main themes:
· improving the post-consumer WEEE plastic quality
· improving the post-consumer WEEE plastic market
PolyCE researchers presented project results carried out so far in these areas, while providing a platform for discussion.
The event began with a description of the actors and interfaces in the WEEE plastic value chain and a presentation of a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of available plastics streams.
The current WEEE pre-treatment value chain was also examined in detail. The technical and organizational challenges currently faced by operators of WEEE pre-processing facilities were identified through a stakeholder engagement campaign carried in Italy, France and Germany.
In addition, a study performed on the WEEE plastics market price evolution was presented, targeting in particular post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics and considering the potential impact on demand increase.
The workshop dedicated a session to gather feedback from participants, which provided an opportunity to guide and inform PolyCE’s future research direction. In addition, the discussion and exchange of feedback validated the methodologies adopted so far in the research activities. In particular, it was suggested that in the future PolyCE examines future occasion design, compounding and logistic issues, confirming the importance of engaging the whole value chain. In addition, the experts present at the workshop confirmed that the presented market price and trends were realistic, which was a valuable affirmation of the project’s objectives and future plans.
Namely, the plastics prices presented were drafted taking into account the plastic marketplaces and the feedback from relevant actors in the market. Starting from the plastics prices after the WEEE processing, the improvements brought by PolyCE activities (in collection, pre-treatment and recycling) would lead to an increase of PCR plastics price, but also to a stabilization of the price evolution. The expected outcome will be a strong and competitive PCR plastics market, independent from the frequent changes that affect the virgin materials.
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