Researchers develop recycling model for the plastics industry

2023-11-16 Lüneburg/Hanover. Prof Dr Klaus Kümmerer from Leuphana University Lüneburg and his colleague Prof Dr Hans-Josef Endres from Leibniz University Hanover want to develop a sustainable recycling model for the plastics industry. The Volkswagen Foundation is funding the four-year project with around 1.3 million euros.

Kümmerer and Endres are working on the development of recycling concepts for plastic-based car parts. They are focussing on complex components for which there is currently no recycling solution. These include underbodies, engine compartment components, interior parts such as centre armrests and shredded material from waste streams with a complex composition.

The transition from a linear production concept to a sustainable circular economy model poses various challenges for the plastics industry. The aspects that the researchers want to address include the selection of suitable recycling processes such as mechanical, solvent-based or chemical recycling and the optimisation of process parameters for the recycling of products.

Above all, the scientists want to analyse the sustainability of the individual processes along the life cycle. As a result, they expect not only the evaluation of different recycling processes, but also approaches for a future "design for recycling", which already takes into account the possibility of recycling during the manufacture of products.