Plastics are a key material within the circular economy. Their diverse composition and processing techniques make them both versatile and challenging at end-of-life. As a result, many packaging materials still end up in incineration.
Different recycling strategies exist for plastics, with choices to be made on source separation, further separation, pre-treatment and reprocessing. The most common reprocessing approach is mechanical recycling, which has many advantages and can result in closed-loop recycling. Complex materials, such as mixed and contaminated plastics, however, typically result in open-loop recycling or even downcycling. More recently, newer methodologies have become of interest, such as thermochemical recycling and pyrolysis.
unique consortium of interdisciplinary research groups
The members of the CAPTURE pipeline ‘Plastics to Resource’ strongly believe that a smart combination of recycling pathways with different technologies and shares will yield the most sustainable solution. ‘Plastics to Resource’ includes a unique consortium of interdisciplinary research groups working together on both fundamental and applied research regarding the different recycling technologies in consultation with industrial partners. A large number of projects are ongoing, some of which are
(co-)funded by Flemish, Belgian or European governments, including by industrial clusters in Flanders, such as Catalisti and SIM. Service contracts are also in place, with OVAM, Fost Plus and the City of Ghent, among others.