On 17 March, TRANSFORM-CE hosted a webinar for businesses, government authorities and the general public interested in plastic recycling and the circular economy. The webinar was opened by Dr David Greenfield of SOENECS, who welcomed guests from all over Europe. We were particularly pleased to be able to present our animation video to the public for the first time. The video illustrates the project activities and was the perfect bridge to Dr Rhiannon Hunt’s presentation. She gave a progress report on TRANSFORM-CE activities and explained the structure, goals and benefits of the project.
After this introduction, the sceptre was handed over to Amelia Burell of SOENECS, who presented the evaluation results of the effectiveness of collection systems in capturing plastic waste in NWE. The results had been split into two sets: one, the information gathered from a questionnaire, and two, an analysis of the figures through a data capture model. Both sets were combined to allow conclusions on the effectiveness of collection systems to be drawn. The conclusions looked at the quantity of material collected, the types of materials, and the contamination and rejection rates throughout the system. Tim Buchhorn of IfaS, then spoke on the untapped potential of plastic waste in Europe. Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK alone absorb about 6.5 million tons of plastic packaging every year. With the right treatment, these waste streams could become a reliable resource for European industry. Speaking of the future and future markets of single-use plastics (SUPs), Hjalka Biernat, also of IfaS, talked about the factors that influence the availability of plastics in Europe. She showed various future scenarios based on current technical or regulatory trends. The webinar’s first Q&A, moderated by David Greenfield followed this theoretical part of the webinar. We were pleased that the Q&A included exciting comments and questions from the audience.
Having covered waste management, the potentials, and future trends, the second part of the webinar, which looked at practice, could start. Tobias Gruben of bCircular presented case studies from the private sector. These included exciting examples of how companies are rising to the challenge of thinking in terms of circularity and are saying goodbye to the old linear economy. The most interesting aspect is that circular economy business models are not only good for the environment and the climate, but often also save companies money on the materials they use and their waste disposal. Paul Mul, Municipality of Almere (NL), added the perspective of the public sector to the picture. He showed examples of applied circular waste streams and talked about the Green Plastic Factory in Almere. He made the point that being more circular brings many advantages to municipalities. It creates new jobs, adds value, and promotes innovation. These in turn ensure that the municipality remains attractive for the population in the future, protects the environment and climate, and saves costs at the same time – a win-win.
The second Q&A then started. The participants again asked interesting questions and discussed various issues with the speakers. Dr Rhiannon Hunt took the opportunity to invite the attendees to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org should they have any questions about the project or business support, or if they wished to receive free sample spools of recycled filament.