Press

2021-05-21

Closing the plastics loop

New specification published for commenting

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In future, DIN SPEC 91446 will set a uniform specification for the classification of recycled plastics based on the available data depth (data quality level) and corresponding labelling. It is now available in draft form for public commenting.

More than 15 million tonnes of plastic currently end up in the world's oceans every year - illustrating the deficits in the recycling of this material. Processing plastic waste for reuse in products of equal or higher value is still a challenge today, and the use of high-quality recycled plastics is still more expensive on average than the use of virgin material. Standards and specifications on the assessment of plastic waste and recyclates are therefore needed that enable high-quality recycling and the economic use of secondary raw materials. DIN SPEC 91446 "Classification of recycled plastics by data quality levels for use and (digital) trading" offers an approach encompassing all different types of polymers, which is intended to facilitate consistent communication along the value chain, thus spuring the establishment of a Circular Economy for plastics. The draft will be publicly available for two months from 21 May 2021. All interested parties are cordially invited to contribute their comments to DIN's Draft Standards Portal.

Removing barriers

DIN SPEC 91446 establishes a system for classifying recycled plastics according to the data depth of their description, which removes the existing barriers to their industrial use. In addition, it defines methods with which recyclates and recycled content of plastic materials can be clearly identified and labelled. The new specification is intended to serve as a common language for actors along the entire value chain in the future. It is aimed in particular at users, processors, recyclers and disposal companies in the plastics sector, but also supports research and politics. In this way, it makes a significant contribution to creating functioning international recyclate markets.

Experts along the value chain

The initiator of DIN SPEC 91446 is cirplus GmbH, an internet platform for the trade in recyclates and plastic waste. It was developed by a consortium of industry and research, with 16 actors along the entire recycling value chain involved: STEINERT GmbH and TOMRA Systems as manufacturers of sorting systems, Der Grüne Punkt - Duales System Deutschland GmbH and REMONDIS Recycling GmbH & Co. KG as waste recyclers, the recyclers MKV GmbH Kunststoffgranulate and MRS Materials Recycling Solutions GmbH, the plastics processors Greiner Packaging GmbH and POLIFILM EXTRUSION GmbH, the Federal Association of the German Waste Management, Water and Raw Materials Industry (BDE), the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) and the plant manufacturer KraussMaffei Group GmbH, the Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV) in Industry and Trade at RWTH Aachen University as a research institution, the testing laboratories Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid and SKZ - Testing GmbH, and cirplus GmbH as a trading platform for plastics recyclates. The Institute for Plastics and Recycling Technology at the University of Hanover, namely Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Josef Endres (Institute Director IKK) and Dr. Madina Shamsuyeva, led the work as consortium leaders.

DIN SPEC 91446 is to be published as a free download after its completion at the end of 2021.

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Stefanie Bierwirth

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