From plastic waste to circular plastics
Less plastic waste, lower CO2 emissions, and less use of fossil raw materials. To achieve this, we’re doing independent research on circular plastics. From innovations for new plastic product designs to sustainable technologies for recycling plastics. With circular plastics, we’re contributing to a more sustainable future.
Increased use of plastics
Plastics are strong, flexible, and lightweight, and these versatile properties mean that their use continues to increase. Between now and 2050, plastic use is expected to rise from 350 million tonnes to more than 1 billion tonnes, due among other things to:
- the growth in population and wealth in Africa and Asia
- the use of more and smaller packaging
- societal developments, such as urbanisation and family composition.
This brings major challenges, such as plastic waste, use of fossil raw materials, and CO2 emissions. We therefore need a systems transition. We’re keen to contribute to innovative solutions through research on circular plastics.
For the transition to circular plastics, we take a close look at the entire supply chain. From the impact of different scenarios on CO2 emissions and material use to health and economic feasibility. To this end, we combine our expertise in life cycle analysis and life cycle costing with technological knowledge of recycling techniques. We make the right choices – systemic and otherwise – based on impact assessments. The guiding principle is the preservation of economic, ecological, and societal values in the chain.
Laboratory research and advice
Because successful recycling starts with good design, we develop short, medium, and long-term plans for circular plastics. For this purpose, we combine laboratory research, pilot tests, and advice. We’re also developing technologies to improve sorting and mechanical recycling. In the Brightlands Materials Center, we develop new packaging that’s more recyclable. And in the public-private partnership Brightsite, we create, for example, industrial demos in the area of chemical recycling.
Chemical and physical recycling of plastics
In other research, we’re developing chemical recycling technologies for plastics. We do this through depolymerisation and physically through dissolution. This is how we separate monomers or polymers from additives such as flame retardants.
Want to know more?
Download our white paper ‘Don’t waste it! The dark side of today’s plastics must be tackled urgently’.
Plastic waste in Indonesia gets value in 2 new P4G projects
How can we make plastics more sustainable? By extending their service life. We are researching the degradation of polymers and creating innovative solutions.