Today’s technological progress would be unthinkable without plastics: Applications in fields such as medical technology, consumer goods, construction, mobility, electronics, and many more would not exist in their current form. Besides the fundamental importance of plastics, the second major topic in our industry is climate change. The presence of microplastics in the oceans and the persistent volume of waste from single-use packaging have resulted in public perception of plastics as an environmental threat. To date, production, processing and the use and disposal of plastics have caused long-term damage to our planet. But because they continue to shape modern technologies, we need practical solutions that improve the cradle-to-grave sustainability of plastics.
What the network proposes is to develop new products and processes that effectively reduce environmental damage – for example, by targeting CO2 emissions during manufacturing, processing and recycling of plastics.
The network envisions comprehensive, environmentally compatible plastic processing – from manufacturing to recycling.
To this end, the plan is to increase the percentage of natural residual materials in plastic products while decreasing energy consumption and waste during production and facilitating recycling at the end of the products’ service life. This is how the network intends to make a considerable contribution toward achieving climate goals.
The cooperation network receives subsidies from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology as part of the Central Innovation Program for Medium-Sized Companies. The network’s management is supported by Jöckel Innovation Consulting GmbH.
The network has a three-part strategy for achieving its vision: First: by using renewable raw and residual materials to produce bioplastics (biobased, but not necessarily degradable or compostable). Second: improving energy efficiency by automating the processing of plastics, prolonging the service life of individual components, and avoiding waste. Third: by improving the recycling of unavoidable waste and plastic products that are no longer in use.
By creating a network of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), the initiative will help to utilize synergy effects and existing expertise in order to drive on innovative development. The scientific expertise of research institutes is the perfect addition to the development ideas provided by our SMEs. It will allow us to take a huge step forward from the current state of the art.