HDPE/PP Working Group pushes for more recycling by improving and harmonizing collection schemes at the Member State level.
Chairman of the HDPE/PP WG – Herbert Snell Multiport GmbH
Vice-Chairman – David Eslava Eslava Plásticos S.A.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is the second most applied polymer in the production of bottles predominantly used for: packaging liquids, cosmetics and detergents, as well as food contact applications. This type of thermoplastic, thanks to its strength and density, is also widely applied in the automotive, building and construction, and agriculture sectors. Additionally, HDPE is used in plastic bags or for instance plastic linings in cereal boxes.
HDPE is highly recyclable, yet only 10-15% of total HDPE waste generated is recycled in Europe. Addressing collection rates and promoting eco-design of HDPE products are necessary if the recycling rates are to increase.
Polypropylene (PP) is most commonly used in packaging, labelling, textiles, reusable containers, laboratory equipment, etc. PP is restating to fatigue and heat which makes it suitable for packaging (kitchen containers suitable for microwaves and dish washers) and medical uses. Resin identification code for PP is 5.
This polymer has a very low density and it is tough and flexible. Furthermore, its high resistance to electricity makes it suitable for electronic applications.
PRE developed guidelines with the aim of improving the design of products which will enable the production of high quality recyclates that could be used in new products with food contact, like milk bottles for example.
Plastic crates and pallets provide for efficient storage and transportation of products, including fragile fresh agricultural products and glass bottles. The life span of crates and pallets extends from 10 to 15 years which decreases costs per circulation, considerably influences raw material savings, and reduces the amount of packaging waste generated.
The market for crates and pallets made of recycled plastics has a great potential for development. These products clearly help the development and implementation of the circular economy model. Additionally, they are a good example of how products can be reused and recycled more than one time.
The LDPE Working Group works towards overcoming the challenges of new streams and applications.
Chairman of the LDPE Working Group – Ton Emans CeDo Recycling
Vice-Chairman – Lukas Intemann Ecoplast Kunststoffrecycling GmbH
Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is used predominantly in packaging (mainly carrier bags) and agriculture (greenhouses, crop protection films, mulch fims, etc.). Other LDPE applications include for example: wiring, cables, pipes and ducts. LDPE is a relatively tough and flexible polymer.
There is a continuous growth observed in the PE waste coming mainly from post-consumer packaging. The steady increase in the collection of LDPE paired with the revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive targets means that the opportunities for LDPE recycling are within reach. Great opportunities lay especially in the recycling of agricultural films. However, treatment of this type of waste demands considerable expertise. Thinner films, multilayer products and inter-polymer substitution means that companies recycling film have to adapt.
Consult the guidelines developed by PRE to get an insight into the recyclability of LDPE materials.
Furthermore, the presented factsheets give an overview of the recycling process for LDPE films.
The PTTs Working Group looks for solutions for the sorting and washing of pots, tubs and trays by collaborating across the value chain in order to increase collection and recycling for this stream.
Chairman of the PPTs Working Group – Werner Kruschitz Kruschitz GmbH
Vice-Chairman – Rob Labots Kunststoff Recycling van Werven
Recycling of pots, tubs and trays (PTTs), also known as mixed plastics, is a rather new activity developing in various countries.
PTT Working Group looks for solutions for the recycling of pots, tubs and trays which would not put in jeopardy the currently existing single polymer streams (e.g. PET, LDPE) and would enable the decrease of the amount of plastic waste which is currently not recycled. Recycling of these materials could help reach the set targets for plastics recycling.
The Group is looking for new technology for sorting and washing of pots, tubs and trays by collaborating across the value chain.
PET Working Group is a major representative body of plastics recyclers in Europe, addressing issues of the PET recycling industry. It advocates for single recycling streams and the standardization of current collection and sorting processes.
Chairman of the PET Working Group – Casper van den Dungen SIG GmbH, branch Poly Recycling
Vice-Chairmen – Paolo Glerean Aliplast SpA & Herbert Snell MultiPet GmbH
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is a polymer most commonly used for bottled packaging and the most widely recycled polymer. PET bottles are currently in an expansion as they constitute a perfect substitution for glass in many applications. Other uses of PET include fibres, strappings, engineering plastics and chemicals production. It can be recycled 5-7 times without losing its properties.
The purity of input material is crucial for obtaining high quality recyclate, especially in food contact applications. The new regulation for recyclates in food packaging will create a level playing field to improve the circular economy for the recycled PET.
Consult the design for recycling guidelines developed by PRE to get an insight into the recyclability of PET materials. In addition, provided factsheets give an overview of the PET bottle recycling process, while the PET information sheets explain the process in detail.
The PVC WG is a platform which develops projects aimed at increasing the quality and the quantities of recycled PVC, focusing on building & construction waste streams. This WG supports all the actions leading to the increase in the collection and recycling rates, including the advocating for sustainable use of additives in new PVC products.
Chairman of the PVC Working Group – Franck Seité Paprec
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is one of the most widely used and oldest polymers in the world. It is extensively used in building and construction, as well as in automotive, medical and electronics sectors. This polymer is very light, solid and fire resistant. Average lifespan of PVC is 50 years and it is highly recyclable – it can be recycled several times without losing its properties.
Due to its durability and long life-span, PVC enters the waste chain quite late which is why PVC WG members push for an increase of the collection rates for PVC waste.
Among other activities, PVC WG supports all the actions leading to the increase in the collection and recycling rates, including the advocating for sustainable use of additives in new PVC products.
The following factsheets give an overview of the recycling process for PVC window frames.
The Technical Plastics WG examines and facilitates development of this growing recycling market.
Use of plastics in the automotive and electronics sector in the past few decades increased sharply. Plastics allow for creative design and are light in weight which results in cost savings. A good example of this would be a car with over 50 % of its interior made out of plastic. Conclusively, this results in a loss of weight of the car which in effect helps to reduce the fuel consumption and ultimately decreases CO2 emissions.
In this sector there is a great potential for plastics recycling. However, treatment of this type of waste demands great expertise since technical plastics use a spectrum of polymers, which need to be separated in order to maintain performance of the material. What is more, these polymers are often used in small quantities and together with other materials which affects dismantling.