Machinery companies kick-off recycling project R-Cycle in Europe

Machinery companies kick-off recycling project R-Cycle in Europe

With the European Union having unveiled its Circular Economy Action Plan, which outlines the EU’s transition toward a future circular economy, early this year, a new plan demands traceability of plastic packaging to ensure its recyclability in future. It presents a catalogue of 50 measures to establish circular economy, including the tracking and managing of information about resources and the digitisation of product data through to the step-by-step development of standardised systems.

A cross-company cooperative project known as R-Cycle has been established. The objective is to ensure the recyclability of plastic packaging through seamless documentation of all recycling-relevant packaging properties. Only in this way can recyclable waste be precisely identified during the recycling process and reprocessed to make a wide range of high-grade plastic products.

Machinery firms like German machinery maker Reifenhäuser has joined R-Cycle. The project’s official kick-off took place at the headquarters of the plastic extrusion technology specialist in Troisdorf. In addition to Reifenhäuser, the plastics machinery manufacturers Arburg, Brückner Maschinenbau and Kautex Maschinenbau are also participating in the project, along with the Institute for Plastics Processing (Institut für Kunststoffverarbeitung – IKV) at RWTH Aachen University.

They are supported by GS1 Germany, a neutral skills and service centre that aims to optimise cross-company business processes throughout the value chain. R-Cycle is set to become a cross-sector, globally-implementable standard that will subsequently be openly available to all companies and industries throughout the life cycle of plastic packaging.

Bernd Reifenhäuser, CEO of the Reifenhäuser Group, explains: “R-Cycle is a data-driven approach to increasing the proportions of recyclate in plastic packaging on the basis of improved waste sorting. R-Cycle will therefore contribute to meeting the objectives of the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan. In order to develop and establish the common standard, the plastic packaging industry must cooperate on a cross-company basis.”

R-Cycle relies here on field-proven marking and tracing technologies similar to those already used for fresh produce in the food industry. This ensures that physical products are supplemented with digital information throughout the entire supply chain. Numerous pilot projects with partner companies, including worldwide raw material suppliers, retail companies, global brands and independent institutions, are already in progress.


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