In response to the European Plastics Strategy, the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) and partners issue new report: Plastics Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda in a Circular Economy.
This report identifies the challenges to plastics circularity and defines the types of solutions needed to address them. Future research is required in three main areas: Circularity by design, recycling, and alternative feedstock.
SusChem Chairman Dr. Markus Steilemann said:
“The Plastics industry is committed to increase the resource efficiency of its production processes and to face the challenge of closing the circularity loop. The new Research and Innovation Agenda gives fresh impetus on the strongest way to drive progress along plastics value chains by means of collaboration”.
The analysis from this report has helped to identify priorities, projects and the level of investment needed to achieve full circularity of plastics. SusChem and its partners – Cefic, PlasticsEurope, European Plastics Converters (EuPC) and the European Composites, Plastics and Polymer Processing Platform (ECP4) – will use this report as their main input to EU innovation policy on the circularity of plastics. We hope this document will inspire an increase in number of collaborative projects as well as European and member states support for a full implementation of the solutions proposed.
Notes to editors
This document was developed using input from experts involved in the plastics value chain; principally from the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem), the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), the European Composites, Plastics and Polymer Processing Platform (ECP4), the European Plastics Converters (EuPC), and PlasticsEurope. There are around 60 000 companies in the European plastic industry, most of them SMEs, employing over 1.5 million people and generating a turnover close to EUR 350 billion in 2016.
Thanks to their versatility and high resource efficiency, plastics have enabled innovation in many other sectors allowing the development of products and solutions in strategic areas (e.g., higher protection in packaging, insulation in building & construction, lightweight for transportation, societal wellbeing brought by renewable energy and medical devices) that could not exist today without these materials. A full plastics circularity has the potential to contribute to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, resource efficiency and job creation (European Circular Economy objectives).
SusChem is the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry. In 2004, SusChem was launched as a European Commission supported initiative to revitalize and inspire European chemistry and industrial biotechnology research, development and innovation in a sustainable way.
About the partners
The European Chemical Industry Council – Cefic is a committed partner to EU policymakers, facilitating dialogue with industry and sharing broad-based expertise. Cefic represents large, medium and small chemical companies across Europe, which directly provide 1.2 million jobs and account for 14.7% of world chemical production. Based in Brussels since its founding in 1972, Cefic interacts on behalf of its members with international and EU institutions, non-governmental organisations, the international media, and other stakeholders. www.cefic.org
PlasticsEurope is one of the leading European trade associations with centres in Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Milan and Paris. The association networks with European and national plastics associations and has more than 100 member companies that produce over 90% of all polymers across the EU28 member states plus Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. www.plasticseurope.org
European Plastics Converters (EuPC) is the EU-level trade association, based in Brussels, representing more than 50 000 companies in Europe, which produce over 50 million tonnes of plastic products every year. Plastics converters (sometimes called “Processors”) are the heart of the plastics industry. They manufacture plastics semi-finished and finished products for an extremely wide range of industrial and consumer markets – the automotive electrical and electronic, packaging, construction and healthcare industries, to name but a few. www.plasticsconverters.eu
The European Composites, Plastics and Polymer Processing Platform (ECP4) is an industry-driven collaboration that unites 25 members from 13 countries amongst the top-level European research institutions, regional plastic clusters, and EU-level industrial organisations of plastics and composites converters. ECP4 brings innovation partners together to identify opportunities for collaborative research.www.ecp4.eu