More than 85 percent of mixed plastic waste and 58 percent of packaging waste is currently lost in the EU. Europe is thus faced with the urgent need to take a step toward a circular economy for plastics. To bring about this change, the network of countries needs circular system solutions, new business forms, business models, and strategies for replicating and disseminating the results, starting at the regional level and working with partners along the value chain. In the Syschemiq project, these requirements are divided into the following eight work packages: Circular specs and dual track governance support, Design for recycling, Collection, Sorting and pre-treatmant of plastic waste, City lab, Integrated regional value chain demonstrators, Upscaling study chemical Plastic waste recycling, Society and business impact assessment and Dissminination, Communication, Replication, Exploitation.
UMSICHT is active in three areas
Fraunhofer UMSICHT is involved in three of the eight topics. In the sub-project Design for Recycling, the researchers want to improve the overall quality of municipal solid waste. They are carrying this out using the example of a plastic waste stream, which mainly contains rigid polypropylene packaging. The goal is to use this example to determine optimal recycling cycles. The researchers at UMSICHT support this sub-project by evaluating the environmental impacts of the identified design solutions from waste to granulate in comparison to the status quo.
In the area of Collection, sorting and pre-treatment of plastic waste, researchers are investigating how the upstream part of the value chain, i.e. the collection, sorting and pre-treatment of plastic waste, can be improved in order to increase the quantity and quality of plastic waste streams sent for recycling. The focus is on streamlining to enable chemical recycling while maintaining and potentially improving mechanical recycling.
In contrast, in the City Lab program, researchers directly engage citizens in the circular economy by providing them with a living lab environment. The living lab environment helps to identify effective behavioral levers to encourage citizens to recycle intelligently. It is also designed to help citizens to contribute to the collaborative development of attractive recycled plastic products. The City Lab program is designed to create awareness and encourage citizen organizations to engage in non-littering campaigns, laying the groundwork for community engagement in recycling and reusing plastics.