The circular economy is a concept fostered by the European Commission with the aim of ensuring that the value of products, materials and resources remains in the economy as long as possible to cut the generation of waste to a minimum.
Many companies in the plastics sector now view this new model as a real benefit to society and the environment, not to mention a great business opportunity. Because AIMPLAS has always defended this new model as a way of making growth and development compatible with an awareness of the environment and natural resources, it is eager to share its expertise with these companies.
The circular economy therefore played a key role in the technology centre’s activity in 2019, as demonstrated by the more than 80 R&D&I projects it worked on in this area and the fact that nine of them identified new lines of research. Of the projects now under way, a total of 13 successful demonstrators were obtained and nearly a hundred business opportunities were identified in 2019. AIMPLAS also participated in a total of 28 events on the circular economy and its professionals gave 26 talks on the topic.
In terms of training in 2019, twenty-five courses were taught for a total of 400 hours, and were attended by 255 people from 180 participating companies. In addition, AIMPLAS held four workshops on the circular economy that were attended by more than 500 people.
In 2019, AIMPLAS also reinforced its capacity to provide technological services on the circular economy, including the creation of a diagnostic service for companies interested in implementing circular economy strategies. In addition, the number of tests certified by ENAC for recycled plastics was increased and an AIMPLAS researcher was accredited by EuCertPlast as an expert auditor to conduct the audits required by recycling companies in order to obtain this certification.
In 2019, AIMPLAS collaborated with 51 associations, platforms, networks and clusters on the circular economy. These collaboration actions included initiatives such as the creation of the EsPlásticos platform, which aims to raise awareness about the sustainable solutions that plastics can provide to meet the challenges of society, and to highlight the great economic, technical, social and environmental advances of these materials.
The centre also adhered to a number of circular economy platforms and initiatives, such as Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE), which recognized AIMPLAS as one of only two independent laboratories in Europe to carry out technological validation of the recyclability of PE films in accordance with PRE’s RecyClass evaluation protocol. Another example is the Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA) initiative, a statement signed by over a hundred entities and framed within the European Strategy for Plastics that promotes voluntary actions to encourage recycling. In line with its commitment to environmental protection, AIMPLAS also adhered to Operation Clean Sweep® (OCS), a global initiative of the sector whose aim is to reduce pellet loss in the environment to zero.