NEWS

2 October 2018

Europe’s Towns and Cities in Line for CIRC-PACK Benefits

Europe’s towns and cities stand to make real gains from new knowledge and innovations in plastic packaging, according to CIRCE’s Montserrat Lanero in a new interview.


Montserrat Lanero, project manager for the CIRC-PACK project and at Zaragoza-based research centre CIRCE, has told circpack.eu that local authorities across Europe could benefit long-term from knowledge transfer and key recommendations that CIRC-PACK will produce for municipalities.


As part of the European Union’s circular economy objectives, the CIRC-PACK project is applying new innovations to plastic packaging design (to improve sorting and recycling), and for the production of new bio-based, biodegradable plastics from renewable resources – as opposed to finite fossil fuels. It is hoped the innovations will ‘close the loop’ on plastics in the environment, and go some way to alleviating Europe’s plastic problem.


Ms Lanero said that across Europe, local authorities with low rates of recovery of plastic waste – and especially plastic packaging – had become an issue, but projects like CIRC-PACK “could help through knowledge transfer”, boost recovery and recycling rates, and raise awareness of circular economy principles.


“In terms of the environmental impact of plastic packaging, CIRC-PACK can really increase awareness among consumers in Europe’s towns and cities, but also among local authorities and public administrations,” said Ms Lanero.


“These actors could certainly benefit from project recommendations and enhance their current policies on plastic packaging.”


Each year in the European Union, more than 25 million tonnes of plastic waste are produced by EU member countries – the majority of which is plastic packaging. Less than a third of plastic waste is recycled.


Asked what consumers could expect from projects such as CIRC-PACK, Ms Lanero said that the advent of biodegradable plastic materials, made from bio-based renewable resources, would prove crucial.


“With CIRC-PACK, we have been collaborating with consumers since the very beginning of the project to take into account their expectations of future products and what they want to see from us and other actors in the ‘lower impact’ packaging market.”


“In the end, we will have more useful materials and better quality materials. This is key for consumers and the environment.”


Among multiple European initiatives to close the loop on plastics, CIRC-PACK is a three-year initiative funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.


The project aims to transform the plastic packaging value chain from a linear to a circular value chain, and transform waste to resource by producing new added-value products for a range of sectors (such as the automotive and hygienic product sectors).


The full interview with Ms Lanero is online.