Hans-Josef Endres, IKK Germany: “There is a lack of higher-quality recyclates and standards!” / VDMA interview
To achieve a functioning circular economy, Hans-Josef Endres sees an urgent need for action: “We do not yet have enough higher-quality recyclates,” the institute director of the IKK Institute for Plastics and Circulation Technology at Leibniz University in Hannover, Germany, recently emphasised in an interview with the German engineering federation VDMA’s (Frankfurt; Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association (KuG, Frankfurt;

Related: VDMA sharply reduces 2022 outlook for plastics and rubber machinery division

In particular, the input flows required to generate the necessary quantities of consistent recyclate quality are a strongly limiting factor in the post-consumer sector. Endres: “Today, a user cannot yet rely on getting sorted material in sufficient quantities with a longer-term delivery guarantee.”

In addition to the sorting quality of the plastics waste, the institute director also sees potential in chemical recycling processes, which still have room for improvement, especially in terms of energy efficiency and yield. “Simplified, one can say, the higher the recyclate quality, the higher the technical effort and thus the costs,” says Endres.

But the standards for recyclates also need to be improved: “It must be specified which volatile substances may still be contained, how exactly is this to be measured and who is responsible for it,” Endres demands. Up until now, it has been assumed that recyclate does not contain hazardous substances if nothing hazardous is found in the input stream.

Related: Regulations help drive growth in plastics recycling

In addition, in his opinion, all recyclates lack important information on long-term properties or characteristic values for processing or crash simulation. Virgin material could be a model here, where manufacturers provide a lot of information and characteristic values for each product.
27.05.2022 [250307-0]
Published on 27.05.2022

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