The European Union manufactures millions of plastic products each year, however, only a fraction of these are made using recycled plastic. Even more surprising, half of the plastic waste collected for recycling is exported outside the EU for processing. The EU plastics industry is thereby losing valuable potential raw materials at a time when demand is increasing. In recognition of this, as well as the possible environmental and social benefits, TRANSFORM-CE brings together four North West European countries to develop innovative solutions for recycling these materials into new products for a circular economy.
Transforming local plastic waste into raw materials for new products
TRANSFORM-CE is using two innovative technologies to create new products from single use plastic waste – additive manufacturing (AM) and intrusion-extrusion moulding (IEM). To support this, an R&D Centre (UK) and Prototyping Unit (BE) have been set up to develop and scale the production of recycled filaments for AM, whilst an Intrusion-Extrusion Moulding Facility, the Green Plastic Factoryhas been established in the NL to expand the range of products manufactured using IEM. Businesses are being encouraged to take up these technologies and recycled materials, and to develop new products and circular business models, through TRANSFORM-CE’s business support package. This includes the provision of sample filaments, as well as help with product design, prototyping, business model innovation, material analysis and product testing. Through this, and the project’s business support and outreach activities, TRANSFORM-CE is demonstrating the potential value of single use plastic waste, the possibilities for recycling it into new products, and a scalable model for widespread uptake across North West Europe.
The development of a circular economy for single use plastic waste and the strengthening of the market for recyclate will bring many benefits to North West Europe. It will help businesses to become independent of virgin and recycled plastic imports, valorise local waste streams, stimulate demand for recycled plastic products, and reduce the environmental impacts associated with the extraction, processing, landfilling and incineration of virgin plastic.
TRANSFORM-CE will not only divert hundreds of tonnes of single use plastic waste from landfill across North West Europe, but will create new circular economy opportunities for businesses, based on demand for recyclate both locally and further afield.
1 pilot plant (IEM) in the Netherlands
2 AM facilities in the United Kingdom and Belgium.
Diversion of 308.2 tonnes of plastic over the 3 yrs from landfill/EfW.
An estimated reduction in CO2 of 478 tonnes (based LCA natureline Save Plastics of 1.3kg net CO2 reduction per kg plastic diverted).
20 businesses across NWE will use the IEM/AM technology to embed recycled municipal plastic into the design and manufacturing of new/existing products.
Circular Waste Management organisations: They are joined by circular waste management organisations bCircular GmbH based in Germany, and Save Plastics in The Netherlands, in partnership with sub-partners Interseroh Dienstleistungs GmbH (DE), and Cirwinn (NL).
Public authority: Public authority, Municipality of Almere, is also a key contributor to the project, having built a Green Plastic Factory in Almere and delivered household plastic waste as a resource. They continue to coordinate project communications.
Associated partners: A range of organisations will also share their expertise and experience over the course of the project (associate partners):
In the UK - Entreprise Europe Network, Dyson Ltd, Express Group Ltd, SCALED3D, Greater Manchester Business Support, WRAP. In Germany – Cortec GmbH, Rhein Lahn Kreis AW, MVA Müllverwertungsanlage Bonn GmbH (MVA BN In Belgium - IPIC Plastic, Intercommunale de Développement économique et d'Aménagement du Coeur du Hainaut (IDEA)
Materia Nova are a technology and innovation consultancy with offices in Belgium and Germany. Acting as a bridge between research and industry, their team of specialists employ a combination of creative, contextual and collective intelligence to carry out research and development that has a real and significant impact in the real world. Read More
Plastic waste and its adverse effects on the environment are increasingly gaining attention in politics, economics, science and the media. As a widely used material, millions of plastic products are manufactured each year, however, only 30% of the plastic waste generated is collected for recycling. Read More
TRANSFORM-CE is an Interreg NW Europe funded project bringing together partners from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium to turn single use plastic waste (SUP) into valuable, new products. To do this, the project is using two innovative technologies: Intrusion Extrusion Moulding (IEM), which is moulding low value, mixed plastic waste into larger products, such as cladding, roof tiles and outdoor furniture, and Additive Manufacturing (AM), where high-grade plastics are separated by material type and extruded into filaments that can be 3D printed into a variety of products. The project is working closely with businesses and stakeholders to support the successful uptake of the solutions developed.
The focus of TRANSFORM-CE is also to support the creation of new, circular products with complementary circular economy business models to ensure that solutions are commercially viable, leading to asignificant diversion of SUP from landfill and incineration, to feedstocks for AM and IEM.
This approach is bringing together SUP waste producers, waste handlers, plastic engineering companies, consumers, public authorities and product manufacturers to provide a closed loop system that is technologically, operationally and commercially viable, securing investment in the creation of additional IEM and AM processing centres, replicating TRANSFORM-CE’s solutions across NWE-regions.
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TRANSFORM-CE is an international research project about the uptake of recycled single use plastic (SUP) feedstock. A core part of this project is to provide in-depth business support to businesses willing to use recycled plastic materials in (new) products. In line with the technologies of the pilot plants from the TRANSFORM-CE project, cases will represent either Intrusion-Extrusion Moulding (IEM) technology or Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology. Throughout the TRANSFORM-CE project and business support cases, several products have been (re)designed. These products will be showcased in this document.
We are pleased to offer educational programmes for primary and secondary schools to learn about the collection, treatment and recycling of plastic waste.
Through these educational programmes schools get the opportunity to use the teaching materials about plastic recycling. The lessons consist of interactive assignments, visual materials about the process of recycling plastics and a teacher manual. Additional activities are possible on location.
See the programmes below. They are available in three languages: English, German and Dutch.
The aim of this report is to provide analysis of the crucial factors that affect the future volume of plastic feedstock available for AM and IEM manufacturing uses. It looks at the factors that create the single use plastic environment, to identify how to increase the circularity of plastics through recycling, this reducing the amount that is single use.
The project is also developing new filament formulas to improve performance and add functionality, such as conductivity, flexibility and reinforced strength, as well as conducting a life cycle analysis for the materials and technology.
Identifying business needs and opportunities for a Circular Economy Plastic Road Map. The results in this report form a basis for formulating the CE roadmap, which further examines the needs of companies and the requirements from the industry/other parties in the chain. Seven in-depth workshops are done to achieve an inventory of the various barriers and enablers organisations face with the uptake of recycled plastic feedstock.
Report: Inventory of barriers and enablers for the uptake of recycled plastic
As part of the TRANSFORM-CE project, this report identifies industry and business needs to use recycled materials in production processes. This document combines the outputs of workshops held in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium. The results form a basis for formulating the CE roadmap, which further examines the needs of companies and the requirements from the industry/other parties in the chain.
1) The review of the results from 46 articles demonstrated that factors such as environmental benefits, perceived quality, safety, risks, emotions, and individual differences influence consumer acceptance of products made from recycled materials. The present review presents the state-of-the-art of the existing literature and future potential directions that can be fruitful for academics and practitioners interested in the topic.
Report: Consumer acceptance of products made from recycled materials: A scoping review
Consumers have a positive attitude towards products made from recycled materials; however, they frequently
end up not purchasing them. To shed light on the factors that influence consumer preferences and acceptance of
products made from recycled materials, a scoping review was conducted with the following objectives: (1) to
explore which factors are drivers of the acceptance of products made from recycled materials, (2) to identify and
analyse potential barriers for their adoption, and (3) to formulate recommendations for future research in order
to further enhance choices of alternatives made from recycled materials.
2) How can companies increase the appeal of recycled plastics to consumers? In this paper, we propose a set of seven guidelines intended to highlight the value of products made from recycled plastics, tackle any perceived risks, and thereby enhance consumer acceptance of such products. Specifically, we highlight how aspects related to product design, marketing elements and business models, can increase consumer evaluations and adoption of products made from recycled plastics. The proposed guidelines provide future directions that could be inspiring for both academics and managers interested in the topics of consumer behaviour, circular economy, and sustainability.
Report: Guidelines to Foster Consumer Acceptance of Products Made from Recycled Plastics
3) This study presented eight business requirements that require actions from other actors in the value chain: design for recycling, optimised waste processing, standardisation, material knowledge, showing possibilities, information and education, cooperation, and regulation and government intervention. The main scientific contributions were the value chain perspective and the applied relevance of the findings. Future studies may delve deeper into the individual factors identified.
Report: Understanding Business Requirements for Increasing the Uptake of Recycled Plastic: A Value Chain Perspective
5) This report provides an overview of the individual and contextual factors that have been found to influence households’ recycling and sorting of their waste, including recycling of plastic waste. It also unveils a comprehensive overview on how specific intervention strategies could encourage households to recycle more frequently and effectively. Finally, the academic report includes guidelines that can help foster households’ recycling and sorting behaviour.
‘understanding householders perspectives on sorting plastic waste’
This report focuses on many of the processes plastic goes through from the point a consumer decides to recycle it until it is available for reuse in an IEM or AM facility. This includes the pre-sorting by consumers, kerbside collection, and the sorting mechanisms at different stages in the plastic waste recycling system.
Report: Municipal Collection and Sorting Mechanisms
This tool guides you through the findings of the TRANSFORM-CE project. The information in this tool will help organisations along the value chain with the uptake of recycled materials, using IEM and AM technologies.
Throughout the document:
you can find links to our project reports and publications
find contact details of our partners if you wish to contact them for questions or possible collaborations
learn how to use recycled plastic with IEM and AM technologies
discover application possibilities for recycled plastic
get inspired by best practises and examples of support and tests provided to other businesses.