The recycling of plastic waste as a sustainable alternative to the production of toys
In order to improve plastics recycling and reuse, there are currently several regulations and legislations in place which specify a number of actions tailored to different sectors. In this regard, both the EU and State-levels legal framework set obligations to control the disposal of unsold excesses of non-perishable goods (e.g., toys), contextually encouraging activities such as their repair or reuse, and ultimately their recycling in accordance with defined waste hierarchies.
Due to the stringent regulatory requirements for the toy industry, it is also pivotal to address the safety of the raw materials that are employed; as a result, new techniques, which aim at ensuring that such materials meet the standards required by the industry are needed. In order to calculate the disposition of raw materials up to the source of production, as well as to confirm that they meet the physical-chemical requirements imposed by the industry, AIJU is currently providing its valuable contribution and high technical expertise to several projects, with the purpose of achieving a greater variety of recyclable materials currently available. This goal is pursued through the recovery of materials that are currently exclusively employed for energy recovery.
PRecycling in the AIJU’s circular mission
The PRecycling project, which tackles the need to discover innovative techniques to accurately calculate, verify, and report the recycled content in products, is one of the initiatives in which AIJU is involved. Determining the recycled content, the composition of the recyclates, mechanical qualities, and screening for substances of concern are undoubtedly challenging objectives to achieve without tracking the product back to its original point of manufacturing.
The project creates a methodology for current plastic waste streams that is based on scientific evidence for sorting, sampling, analysis, tracing, and finally obtaining high-quality recyclates. To reach competitive prices for recycled goods and achieve a high degree of social impact and public engagement, the PRecycling solutions are also assessed in terms of financial and environmental feasibility across their entire life cycles.
As the project is being carried out, the flows of plastic waste and the unique value chains in various European regions are examined, together with a definition of the technical requirements that the recycled materials must meet in order to be used in the target applications, with the ultimate objective of developing a Recycling Handbook. In this regard, the toys’ waste stream mapping enables a thorough examination of its uniformity. As a result, AIJU started collecting toys garbage with the purpose of assessing its composition. After its collection through the campaign “Comparte y recicla”, the consumer toy waste was sorted twice and processed. The outcome of this process resulted in flakes of different sizes and polymeric fractions. Both before and after the pollutants are removed, the waste is characterised to determine its suitability for processing through different technologies, such as extrusion and injection moulding, and to confirm the feasibility of its use in the intended products (toys).
Figure 1 Circular Industry Plant
Figure 2 Fractions of different sizes obtained
Figure 3 Decantation process for the separation of two types of plastic
Visit regularly the PRecycling website to stay updated about the project’s developments and find out more about the partners’ diverse contributions towards the achievement of the ultimate circularity in the home appliances, toys and textile sectors.
 The processing took place in the pilot plant obtained in the "Circular Industry - CV" project.
 The physical-chemical requirements of the materials achieved are regulated by the Directive 2009/48/EC on Safety of toys and the applicable standards EN-71.