Vegetable box made from styrofoam, containing broccoli, on a field

Bild: BEWI

Completing the cycle for industrial plastic

Swedish industry uses large amounts of plastic packaging, most of which are burned after a single use. This project develops solutions to complete the cycle and by doing this you can make both economic and environmental gains.

In Sweden, approximately 217,000 tonnes of plastic packaging are sold every year. Much of it becomes waste after a very short lifespan. Only about 16 percent of the plastic packaging waste is recycled into new material.

The project aims to increase the circular use of materials from industrial plastic packaging. These are more homogeneous and usually less contaminated than those of households, and therefore much more suitable for recycling. But the systems that can complete these cycles need to be improved.

The project focuses on several areas:

  • Pilot development – to elevate recycling techniques
  • Business development – to clarify the economic value of recycled plastic material
  • Policy issues – to influence regulations and legislation
  • Sustainability assessment – to be able to value sustainability aspects of the recycled plastic

Three case studies will be conducted:

  • Large bags that hold between 0.25 and 3 cubic meters and are used for everything from grain to construction waste
  • Packaging of EPS (expanded polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam)
  • A third type of packaging that is determined during the project

The work takes place within the framework of Vinnova's program Utmaningsdriven innovation steg 2 (Challenge-driven innovation step 2). The objective is to improve and add solutions in a future third step.

Facts about project

  • Completing the cycle for industrial plastic
  • Budget: SEK 8 million from Vinnova plus SEK 8 million in industrial funds from the partner companies
  • Financier: Vinnova and project partner
  • Project partners: IVL Swedish Environmental Institute (project coordinator), Accon Greentech, Barry Callebaut, BEWI, IKEM (Innovation and Chemical Industries in Sweden), Jackon Insulation, Recycling & Recycling in Sweden, Lantmännen Cerealia, Martin & Servera, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Novoplast, Samhall, Stora Enso Timber, Sundolitt, Uppsala Water and Waste
  • Period: 2021 - 2023

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Last updated: 2022-03-15

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

About IVL

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute has a wide environmental profile. We combine applied research and development with close collaboration between industry and the public sphere. Our consultancy is evidence-based, and our research is characterized by interdisciplinary science and system thinking.

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