Belgium: New project founded to boost plastic and polymer waste recycling

The Belgian plastics industry, the textile sector and the environmental management companies join forces in order to boost plastic and polymer waste recycling. The Flemish and Belgian authorities are requested to insist with the European Commission on an appropriate legal framework.

representatives from plastics converters, textile companies and environmental management companies participated in the start event of CORE (Controlled Recycling) Business. This joint project is organized by FEBEM, Centexbel, Federplast.be and Flanders' PlasticVision - VKC division within the context of the Flanders in Action - New Industrial Policy programme of the Flemish Regional Government.

The purpose of the project is to match the competences of the waste treatment companies with those of the plastics and textile manufacturers, for waste from one sector to become a valuable material for the other sector. Plastics processing companies and textile manufacturers for the greater part use similar polymer materials, which they convert by using different techniques into plastic products and textile products respectively. A very well-known example of this synergy is the recycling of PET bottles in polyester fabric; they constitute two completely different products, but they are made of one and the same polymer.

Two specific initiatives are already in the pipeline. Collaboration has been established to search for recycling solutions and markets for polyvinyl butyrate (PVB), the foil used in the layered glass of car windows and safety glazing. In this project, also FISCH, Flanders' Competence Pool for Sustainable Chemistry, is asked for a contribution, so as to verify whether chemical technology may be used for the upgrading of this type of waste.

Another initiative intends to develop an internet tool to facilitate access to the competences of more than 50 companies in Belgium operating in the field of recycling of plastics, textile polymers and rubber.

The partners of the CORE business project support the action of the European plastics value chain (plastics manufacturers, plastics processers and plastics recyclers) urging the European Commission to promptly establish European End-of-Waste criteria for waste plastics. The End-of-Waste criteria are necessary for a harmonization in the European member states of the legal status of waste plastics and products made from waste plastics, especially within the scope of the European Reach legislation aiming at user and environment protection. Transparent and harmonized End-of-Waste criteria are an important condition for a further growth of plastics recycling in Europe, for a higher-grade recycled plastic and for a decrease in exports outside Europe of these valuable materials.

The partners of the CORE business project are:

FEBEM, Belgian Federation of Environmental Management Companies
Contact: werner.annaert@febem-fege.be , tel +32 2 757 91 70

Centexbel, Technical and Scientific Centre for the Belgian Textile Industry
Contact: bob.vanderbeke@centexbel.be, tel +32 9243 82 17

Federplast.be, Association of Plastic and Rubber Goods Manufacturers
Contact: geert.scheys@federplast.be, tel +32 2 238 97 39

Flanders' Plasticvision - VKC division, Technology Centre of the Competence Pool in support of the plastics and rubber processing industry in Flanders
Contact: wim.grymonprez@vkc.be, tel +32 56 281 828

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