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Four companies and 6 research groups from two universities collaborate to ramp up polymer recycling in the Catalisti MATTER project. Started in May 2018 the two year project brings together academic researchers and technological business experts to analyse socio-economic aspects related to plastic recycling options. The focus is on mixed, post-consumer plastic waste streams (the P+ fraction of the newly enlarged blue bag) and the use of generated data to develop a decision supporting framework.

Within the project, technical and market-based criteria are being be developed to support an optimal plastic waste management system. Partners from across the value chain are included in the project consortium: separation and pretreatment (Indaver and Bulk.ID), mechanical recycling (Borealis and ECO-oh!), and thermochemical recycling (Indaver and Borealis). Public partners FostPlus, OVAM and Plarebel, which are very much concerned by the research topic, are closely involved in the project execution.

Sustainability analyses will enable the development of a decision-supporting framework, taking for instance into account aspects such as contamination and pre-treatment steps in the recycling processes.

By generating general knowledge on the recycling of mixed plastic waste, and specific knowledge on the optimization of the P+MD recycling scheme, the valorisation of the project is twofold. On short-term, the outcome of the project will help to develop sustainable recycling solutions. Indeed, for the extra ca. 70.000 tons of mixed plastic waste expected to be collected from the P+MD scheme, some have not yet alternatives to incineration currently available. In the longer run, the general recycling knowledge can result in extra activities on the processing of other plastic waste fractions.

Overview of the project partners

The project partners acknowledge the Funding Support from Flemish Government – trough Catalisti-VLAIO HBC.2018.0262.