The challenge of mixed plastics recycling. Luca Stramare R&D Manager COREPLA (Italy)

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1 The challenge of mixed plastics recycling Luca Stramare R&D Manager COREPLA (Italy)

2 2 Plastic packaging Protection Convenience Information Producer Transport Marketing Consumer

3 3 The problem begins at the end (of life) Once the benefits of plastic packaging have been exploited, then blaming the packaging begins Littering and there is too much packaging are the most common examples Plastic packaging is not responsible for littering. Consumer behavior is Companies have done great efforts to reduce packaging weight and to remove unnecessary packaging The environmental impacts of plastic packaging cannot be separated from the ones of the product it contains, delivers and protects Source: Wikipedia

4 4 Tools to make plastic packaging more sustainable Waste Hierarchy Reduce Waste Prevention Lightweighting Reuse Extended Producer Responsibility Principle Recycle Recover Landfill Separate Collection Recycling Targets Design for Recycling

5 5 Extended Producer Responsibility in Italy Plastic packaging waste European Union Recycling targets Recycling targets EPR rules Italian Government Direct management of T&I plastic packaging waste) Industry System funding (packaging fee) Municipalities Citizens Compensation Industry owned Consortia Plastic packaging separate collection Plastic packaging sorting and preparation for recycling

6 6 The CONAI-COREPLA system Red: financial Blue: materials Yellow: area of COREPLA ownership Manufacturer - Importer of plastic packaging Consumer Separate collection Packaging fee Compensation for collection Waste packaging sale Compensation for sorting Municipality Energy Recovery Plant Converter Recycling Company Sorting Center

7 7 Plastic packaging waste managed by COREPLA Ton x Raccolta Plastic Packaging Waste Collection Kg/Abitante Kg/Person kt 12.9 kg/person kg /Person kt 1.9 kg/person

8 8 Post-consumer plastic packaging recycling in Italy Ton x ,6% Plastic packaging recycling rate Italy COREPLA Altri Other Operatori Operators 100 Totale Italia EU Target: 22.5%

9 9 COREPLA - Plastic packaging recycling 2013 PET bottles HDPE containers Film Polyolefins (PP and PE) Other recycling Ton x 1000 PET bottles HDPE containers 62.8 Film 49.6 Polyolefins (PP and PE + PP mix) 85.3

10 10 The recycling chain is as strong as its weakest link Manufacturer Importer Municipalities Citizens Sorting Center Recycling Company Converter Plastic Packaging Separate collection Bales Packaging fee Sorting by (EPR) plastic type Recycling Flakes - Pellets Articles

11 11 Sorting process Sorting PET bottles HDPE containers Clear Light blue Mixed colors Large size film Recycling (consolidated) Incoming plastic packaging waste Mixed polyolefins Other plastics Recycling (with some difficulties) Energy recovery Concrete Steel mills

12 12 Mixed polyolefins Fluctuating composition Flexible/rigid packaging PE/PP ratio Other plastics residuals Over time Among sorting centers According to local consumption habits Recycler Recycled plastics Inconsistent quality Poor performance Very low value Converter Applications Limited (non demanding ones) Low value articles

13 13 Improved sorting process PET bottles HDPE containers Large size film Clear Light blue Mixed colors Recycling Incoming plastic packaging waste Sorting Mixed polyolefins Other plastics Rigid PP Small size film PET trays, rigid PS, Remaining plastics

14 14 Consolidated recycling PET bottles Most recycled plastic packaging material in Europe One out of two PET bottles in Europe is collected and recycled That means more than 1.6 Million tons Established recycling value chain Consolidated recycling outlets Textiles (relevant but declining) Strappings Other packaging (thermoforming) Bottle-to-bottle Chemical recycling (new) Bottle to bottle recycling Growth from zero to nearly 30% in ten years On average rpet content of European bottles: 10%

15 15 PET - Innovation without disruption PET packaging industry Innovations Barrier materials Scavengers Labels Glues Sleeves Closures Additives Colorants Increased performance and resource efficiency Shelf differentiation The PET packaging industry has the right to innovate, provided that innovations not distrupt the existing PET recycling value chiain

16 16 The EPBP initiative Protecting PET bottle-to-bottle recycling Voluntary industry initiative European Federation of Bottled Waters (EFBW) European Association of Plastic Recycling and Recovery Organizations (EPRO) Petcore Europe Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) European non-alcoholic beverages association (UNESDA) PET bottle design guidelines for recycling Based on many years of experience Freely available on the website (www. petbottleplatform.eu) Evaluation of PET bottle packaging solutions Expert panel covering whole value chain Strict business confidential information protection Opinions recognized by PET packaging end users

17 17 Recycling: a powerful sustainability engine Resources Production Product Cycle Consumer Recycling Waste

18 18 Plastic packaging recycling sustainability Environmental Reduced waste generation Environmental Lower environmental impact Energy saving Local availability Economical New business opportunities Cost savings Environmentally friendly image Social Reduced dependence from imports Innovation Social Job creation (collection, sorting recycling) Knowledge development Economical

19 19 10 years of sustainable plastic packaging recycling in Italy Environmental 7,1 Mio ton of CO2 emissions avoided 3,3 Mio ton of not landfilled waste 54 avoided landfills Economical Social 318 Mio of reduced disposal costs 668 Mio of recycled plastics made available to industry, including SMEs 3000 Mio of total plastic packaging business value Recognition of Italy as worldwide provider of waste plastic packaging collection, sorting, recycling and recycled plastics processing equipment and solutions About 8000 jobs generated in the value chain Competences in collection, sorting, recycling and recycled plastics processing

20 20 Conclusions Plastic packaging recycling is challenged by Different polymers and combinations of Huge plastic packaging items variety Italy turned the challenge into a circular economy opportunity Sustainable plastic packaging waste recycling system Current EU recycling targets exceeded by far Recycled materials available to industry Extensive knowledge in recycling and recycled plastics processing Worldwide export of equipment and final products Looking into the future: further opportunities Increased recovery and recycling New recycling processes Further job creation New business

21 Thank You! 21

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