NEWS

15 March 2019

EU projects on the circular economy of plastics – informing policy through research and innovation

The CIRC-PACK project has been featured in a new publication by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, cementing the project’s position as a valuable learning tool for policy makers in the circular economy sphere.

‘A circular economy for plastics: Insights from research and innovation to inform policy and funding decisions’ was published on 4 March by the European Commission following a busy 18 months for plastics in the legislative calendar.

Aside from the more headline-grabbing issues of the past year - issues such as the EU directive on Single-use Plastics – other major themes are emerging from Brussels that show how serious European policy makers have become about the role of plastics in a circular economy; themes such as innovation spanning the entire plastics value chain.

This publication, an extensive document edited by Michiel De Smet and Mats Linder, gives a comprehensive overview of the novel sources, design and business models for plastics in a circular economy, in addition to circular after-use pathways for plastics – pathway such as collection and sorting, mechanical recycling, chemical recycling and organic recycling and biodegradation.

The document identifies a number of challenges and knowledge gaps, notably finding that “so far, innovations have often focused on improving a single issue, rather than taking the entire plastics system into account.”

“While thousands of EU-funded projects have dealt with plastics,” says the report, “only a few, mostly recent projects specifically focus on systemic aspects.”

Here the report cites CIRC-PACK and the PlastiCircle project as examples of initiatives that aim to study circularity of plastic packaging and its after-use channels.

The report is available to download via the European Commission.