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12/01/2022

AIMPLAS organizes seminar on plastics recycling in Valencia to discuss using R&D to tackle the challenge of environmental sustainability

plas

On 1-2 December, AIMPLAS held the first edition of its International Seminar on Plastics Recycling, in hybrid format with the participation of more than 200 experts. For two days, 28 speakers presented different challenges faced by plastics recycling, such as the circular economy, and discussed the current legislative scenario, as well as technological innovations the industry is working on.

Plastics recycling in figures

In 2018, 29 million tonnes of plastic waste were collected in the EU; 33% was recycled, 43% was used for energy recovery and 25% ended up in landfills. This means that there is still room for improvement and R&D is one of the tools the sector uses to do this. The seminar therefore presented projects on waste collection, plastics sorting and recycling of different plastics and its origin such as textiles or packaging, among others.

The goal is to progress towards carbon neutrality and the circular economy. Industry forecasts therefore aim to ensure that 60% of plastic production is based on reuse and recycling by 2050 and that 10 million tonnes of recycled plastic will be reached in the EU by 2025.

Key presentations and expert speakers

On the first day of the seminar, discussion centred on recycling’s role in the circular economy. The most recent technological innovations were presented by organizations dedicated to collection, selection and sorting, as well as mechanical recycling. On the second day, trends in chemical recycling were addressed, as well as technologies such as enzymatic recycling, given EU requirements to make use of biotechnology applications in this sector. During the seminar, success stories were presented involving different materials, such as PET, polyurethane, ABS and multilayer film. The importance of analysing and choosing the best technology in each case was also discussed because mechanical and chemical recycling are complementary options to increase recycling rates. Finally, emphasis was placed on the importance of legislation, regulation and certifications, which are particularly relevant in the case of food-contact recycled material and to show the recyclability of the products and their recycled content.

plastics recycling seminar

The second edition

The organisers of the event, who consider the first edition of the seminar a success, are already preparing the second edition, which, as revealed, is scheduled for November 2023.