R-Cycle – the digital product passport for sustainable plastics – received the German Award for Sustainability Projects 2021 in the “Packaging” category.
The award is presented by the German Institute for Service Quality, the news channel ntv and DUP Unternehmer (German Entrepreneur Platform for Digitalization and Sustainability). The patron of the award is Brigitte Zypries, former Federal Secretary.
Plastic packaging has become an integral part of today’s everyday life and is often without alternative – such as in medical technology or in the packaging of perishable foods. However, the problems associated with the rising global demand for plastic packaging are unmistakable and are becoming increasingly acute. For example, even in the “recycling country” of Germany, only about six percent of plastics from household waste are recycled for equivalent new products. The largest proportion of over 65 percent is thermally recycled in waste incineration plants.
One reason for the low recycling rate is that the composition of plastic packaging in the recycling process is hardly discernable today. With a digital product passport for each plastic packaging that shows this information, sorting can be improved. R-Cycle is such a digital product passport, which is based on an open standard and can be read by machine via special markings. R-Cycle automatically records all recycling-relevant properties during the production of thepackaging and routes them through the value chain. This enables waste sorting plants to identify recyclable packaging and form recyclable fractions. This is the basis for obtaining pure and thus high-quality recyclates to build a functioning circular economy.
“We are very pleased to receive this award,” says Dr. Benedikt Brenken, director of the R-Cycle Initiative. “Digitalization and sustainability are two megatrends that we usefully link with R-Cycle. The use of a digital product passport, as also demanded by the European Union, offers enormous potential for increasing the recycling rate of plastic packaging.”
R-Cycle is being developed to market readiness by leading companies and organizations along the entire life cycle.