In May 2019 the EU approved an intersectoral and multidisciplinary research project on recycling plastics.
It is a declared goal in the EU to recycle more plastic and to reuse the resulting recyclates, e.g. in the packaging industry. Particularly in the case of food packaging, however, high demands are placed on the purity and health safety of recycled materials. To reuse recyclates from post-consumer plastic packaging waste for high-quality consumer products, it must be possible to check in the recycling process whether these still contain contaminates.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV has stated that it is of great interest to develop a suitable real time sensor system to detect contaminants, noting that chemical diagnostics are still underrepresented in recycling.
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To make progress in this area (among other reasons), the intersectoral and multidisciplinary EU research project “Circular Plastics Network for Training” (C-PlaNeT) will be launched at the beginning of 2020. This will considerthe complex topic of recycling plastics holistically, with progress also sought in the areas of identifying and eliminating contaminates in recyclates.
The project, which was approved in May 2019, will involve 15 PhD students from eight European universities in chemistry, process engineering, sociology and economics together with 23 non-university partners, such as Plastics Europe, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Dow DuPont Inc. The Fraunhofer Institute IVV is also involved, in cooperation with the Chair of Aroma and Smell Research at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg.