From 26–29 November 2018 nine partners of the PolyCE consortium participated at the Going Green CARE Innovation conference in Vienna, Austria. With a wide range of international experts from the industry (> 70%), academia, NGOs and policy makers, the conference gave valuable insights in how the different stakeholders approach the global challenges of circular economy, sustainability and climate change.
In total, the PolyCE project was present with eight contributions covering the entire value chain of plastics recycling from waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE). The presentations covered both the systemic and the technical dimensions of WEEE plastics recycling. From a systemic perspective, the PolyCE team highlighted current market challenges and showcased several best practice examples of circular business models in the electronics sector. The project partners shared results of their analysis on how better knowledge on material flow and mass balances can improve after-use management of WEEE post-consumer plastics and how ecolabels can act as pull factors for recycled plastics on the demand side.
On the technical side, the consortium discussed recycling challenges stemming from the product design stage and listed guidelines for designers that would facilitate plastics recycling. Furthermore, the consortium demonstrated how better product clustering can improve collection, sorting and recycling results. On the recycling stage the team showed how the size distribution and colour of mixed plastic recyclates can be evaluated using computer vision and which minimum quality requirements need to be reached in injection moulded products to make recycled plastics more attractive for manufacturers.
The Q&A sessions, breaks and social events during the conference were valuable occasions for open discussions and provided a good opportunity to receive constructive feedback on applied methodologies and project results. Overall, the CARE Innovation was a great platform for the PolyCE consortium to present the ongoing project work to more than 400 participants from a broad variety of sectors and countries and to extend the expert network for future collaborations.