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Problems & Solutions

Polymers are one of the most widely used materials in packaging, home appliances, and toys.
As an example, toys made from polymeric materials are identified to be the most plastic-intensive industry in the world, for every $1 million in revenues 40 tons of plastic are used. From a consumers' behavior perspective, toys are often thrown away after a short lifespan, with 80% of them ending up in landfills or being incinerated.
Another consumer sector of plastic products with high global revenue annually is textiles. Just by 13% of the fibre input for clothing is worldwide recycled and less than 1% of this is closed-loop recycling, i.e. fibres recycled back into clothing, rather than into lower value uses, such as cleaning cloths and insulation.
At the same time, the EU-level requirements in terms of use of recyclates in plastic products increase steadily. The European Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan II, following the European Plastics Strategy, target to increase the recycling of plastics, boost the recycled content in everyday products and reduce the use of virgin materials. The recycling capacity (output) was 1,1 million tons in 2019 worldwide, which is 28% higher than that in 2018. However, product consistency, quality, and finally the data provided in technical and safety data sheets (TDS, SDS) or decentralised data sharing systems for recyclates must be at the same precision and reliability level as for the virgin plastics to be substituted in as many applications as possible.
Together with the recyclate quality, clear responsibilities for guaranteeing properties and supply reliability are the main prerequisites for the development of a sustainable, transparent, and functional Circular Economy Model. To meet these prerequisites, traceability of the recycled materials,  standardized sampling, and characterization methods for recyclates and products which contain recycled content, must be improved considering the dynamic development of this field.
PRecycling aims to solve these complexities and develop an easy-to-use methodology for sampling and analysis procedures of recyclates. The outcome of PRecycling will be the establishment of a methodology for recyclate definition, promoting the circularity and safety of plastic materials throughout polymer recycling based on the degradation degree, production, and verification of recyclate's quality, smart traceability solutions, and digital information management.
The PRecycling aim is to show that ‘waste to product’ transformation is scalable, replicable, traceable, potentially and commercially viable, and, most importantly, safe to use. The production of new safe products from recycled materials for home appliances, toys for children, and textiles, will form part of community awareness and a pilot demonstration initiative, showing that high-quality, unique materials made from recyclates can find a new use, both within the same and new supply chains. These outputs will have a practical use and therefore commercial and industrial interest, apart from the significant societal impact. The challenge of changing the ‘waste problem=cost’ for the end-of-life disposer to a ‘re-born product=value’, which is fully recycled and safe, preserving the embedded value as it moves through the whole process, will be faced by the proposed methodology.

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