Petrotahlil - Initiative aims to develop a global standard for a sustainable circular economy
The official kick-off of R-Cycle, a project in which currently four plastics machinery manufacturers are participating as well as the Institute for Plastics Processing at RWTH Aachen University, was recently held at the Reifenhäuser headquarters in Troisdorf.
Work on the R-Cycle project, which aims to develop an open standard for stakeholders of all industries involved in the life cycle of plastic packaging, has been ongoing for the past two-and-half years. The first results were presented to the industry at K 2019.
The idea behind the project is to provide complete traceability of packaging for recycling purposes, by establishing a data environment in which the full and seamless documentation of all the recycling-relevant properties of the packaging can be made.
The four machine manufacturers- Reifenhäuser, Brückner Maschinenbau, Kautex Maschinenbau, and Arburg – together with the Institute for Plastics Processing, are working together to set up a system enabling the precise identification of recyclable waste making it possible for this to be reprocessed into high-grade plastic products.
The project is also supported by GS1 Germany, an independent skills and service centre that will use its expertise to optimise cross-company business processes throughout the value chain and aid in transforming R-Cycle into a globally-implementable standard that can be used across all sectors. It will then be openly available to all companies and industries involved in the life cycle of plastic packaging.
All recycling-related packaging data are stored in R-Cycle, which then become available for the recycling process. This data is collected during the production, conversion, and filling processes and then linked to the packaging with the help of marking technology. Once disposed of by the end-consumer, the packaging can thus be identified when it reaches the recycling station. There, the waste is sorted into pure fractions by retrieving previously stored recycling-related data.
“R-Cycle is a data-driven approach to enable high-quality recycling for plastic packaging on the basis of improved waste sorting,” said Bernd Reifenhäuser, CEO of the Reifenhäuser Group.
“R-Cycle will therefore contribute to meeting the objectives of the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan. In order to develop and establish the common standard, the plastic packaging industry must cooperate on a cross-company basis.”
The feasibility of R-Cycle is currently being tested and validated in a number of pilot projects that are underway in collaboration with raw material producers, packaging manufacturers, brand owners, wholesalers and retailers. These projects are focussed on the development of recyclable and recyclate-containing recipes, marking technologies, and the deployment of the standardised data environment.