We collect much that matters in the field of circularity and plastics in this CPNL Knowledge Desk: observations, research, white papers, book tips, fact sheets, podcasts and best practices. This knowledge counter is so rich and broad because we do not fill it alone, but with our community. A virtual conduit, acknowledging authors and keeping credits and resources where they belong. Recommendations and suggestions are most welcome.

Circular Plastics NL also holds monthly a news overview a selection of coverage in the mainstream media on plastics and circularity.


July 2024 | Alternative Naphtha - Technologies and Market, Status and Outlook | Gillian Tweddle, Lars Krause, Pauline Ruiz, Achim Raschka, Aylin Özgen, Nicolas Hark, Michael Carus (nova-Institute)

Report Highlights:

- Comprehensive Analysis: 188 pages, 22 tables, 48 graphics
- Production Routes: Methods to derive alternative naphtha from renewable sources
- Technological Insights: Current and emerging technologies
- Market Analysis: Key companies, market capacities, and growth potential
- Regulatory Environment: Policies influencing adoption
- Industry Partnerships: Collaborations driving innovation
- Future Outlook: Projections for growth and trends
- Discover how the chemical industry can transition to sustainable feedstocks and the role of renewable carbon in this transformative journey.
Read the short version here or you can download and read the full report (lisence only) on renewable carbon publications.


July 2024 | "Plastics, people and power" | Inaugural Lecture Prof. Dr. Kim Ragaert


The great challenges we face in our attempts to create a sustainable space for plastics in the circular economy, cannot be solved by engineering sciences alone. Rather, in a systemic view, our technological solutions will thrive - or founder -due to other factors, such as politics, economics, and consumers. The future of Plastics is heavily determined by People and the Power they exercise.

These elements are also at play in the academic biotope. Through the inherent hierarchies of universities, the amount of everyday Power over People's lives assigned to a professor is staggering, and the risks of slipping into abuse of that Power very real. In accepting her Circular Plastics chair, Prof. Ragaert also reflects on how academic leadership should see us through those pitfalls rather than straight into them.

You can rewatch the recording here.

June 2024 | Roadmap for working on transitions | Drift; Gijs Diercks & Martin van de Lindt, The Green Brain; Marjolijn de Boer & Antoine Heideveld

Working on a transition like that to a circular economy is complex. If you start working on this as a province or municipality, how do you go about it? To make working on a transition easier, the IPO (Interprovinciaal Overleg) asked Green Brain and Drift to create this roadmap. The roadmap helps you shape the transition to a circular economy in the region. We discuss different transition perspectives and refer to useful documents you can use in working on the transition.


June 2024 | Replacing Plastics with Alternatives Is Worse for Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Most Cases | Environmental Science & Technology | Fanran Meng, Miguel Brandão, and Jonathan M Cullen

Plastics are controversial due to their productionfrom fossil fuels, emissions during production and disposal,potential toxicity, and leakage to the environment. In light ofthese concerns, calls to use less plastic products and move towardnonplastic alternatives are common. However, these calls oftenoverlook the environmental impacts of alternative materials. Thisarticle examines the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission impact ofplastic products versus their alternatives. We assess 16 applicationswhere plastics are used across five key sectors: packaging, buildingand construction, automotive, textiles, and consumer durables.These sectors account for about 90% of the global plastic volume.Our results show that in 15 of the 16 applications a plastic productincurs fewer GHG emissions than their alternatives. In theseapplications, plastic products release 10% to 90% fewer emissionsacross the product life cycle. Furthermore, in some applications, such as food packaging, no suitable alternatives to plastics exist.These results demonstrate that care must be taken when formulating policies or interventions to reduce plastic use so that we do notinadvertently drive a shift to nonplastic alternatives with higher GHG emissions. For most plastic products, increasing the efficiencyof plastic use, extending the lifetime, boosting recycling rates, and improving waste collection would be more effective for reducingemissions.


June 2024 | Plastic waste (r)evolution - Dynamic sector with growth opportunities | Ronald Berger | Dragos Popa

Explore the growing challenges and promising solutions in global waste management. Discover how population growth, consumption patterns, and regulatory initiatives shape the future of municipal solid waste. From regional disparities to the imperative of effective waste management, uncover insights into recycling innovations and investment opportunities. Join the journey towards a cleaner, more sustainable future.


May 2024 | MONITORING OF CIRCULARITY STRATEGIES | Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency | Maikel Kishna & Anne Gerdien Prins

This report has been prepared for two reasons. First, it aims to encourage a uniform application of the circularity strategies as an analysis framework. Both within and outside the M&S CE Work Program (in the Netherlands and abroad), there is increasing attention to inventorying raw material flows or circular activities according to the circularity strategies. Various circularity ladders are in circulation, sometimes with conflicting definitions. A consistent approach makes results comparable and combinable, and also contributes to the further development of the analysis framework. Thus, this report is primarily aimed at Dutch researchers who want to classify aspects of a circular economy into circularity strategies. Second, this report brings together the experience gained in recent years from the aforementioned studies. Much of the knowledge gained in applying the circularity strategies as an analysis framework has been described in various (background) papers. Laying down the methodology in one report provides a bundled overview. This report provides definitions, but also describes the choices made in applying the framework in previous studies and the reasoning behind them. The assumptions described in this report are consistent with the application of the circularity ladder in ICER 2021 and 2023 (and the background studies that provided input for it). However, the definitions and assumptions presented below are not set in stone. As new insights arise, it may lead to an update of these principles.


April 2024 | Mechanical recycling of printed flexible plastic packaging: The role of binders and pigments | Journal of Hazardous Materials | M. Lisiecki, Tiago G.A. Belé, S. Ügdüler, R. Fiorio, T.F. Astrup, S. De Meester, K. Ragaert,

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE), extensively employed in flexible plastic packaging, often undergoes printing with inks. However, during the mechanical recycling of post-consumer waste, these inks act as contaminants, subsequently compromising the quality and usability of recycled material. To understand better exactly which ink components cause which effects, this study comprehensively assesses the thermal behavior of three organic pigments and two commonly utilized binders, correlated with the impact on the mechanical recycling of LDPE-based flexible plastic packaging. In this regard, the study focuses on four pivotal factors: processability, mechanical properties, aesthetic attributes, and volatile organic compound profiles. The results indicate that nitrocellulose, used as a binder, degrades during reprocessing, resulting in film discoloration and the emission of potentially odorous compounds. Conversely, pigments are found to be dispersed within droplets of polyurethane binder in LDPE recyclates, whilst reprocessing printed samples detrimentally affects film properties, notably dart drop impact resistance, strain at break, and the number of inclusions. Additionally, it is shown that both inks comprise components that emit volatile compounds during reprocessing: non-thermally stable components, nitrocellulose and pigment yellow PY13, as well as low-molecular weight molecules from polyurethane and by-products from wax, plasticizers, and additives.
Keywords: Solvent-based ink; Mechanical recycling; Design for circularity


April 2024 | Mechanical recycling of PET containing mixtures of phosphorus flame retardants | Journal of Materials Science & Technology | Jiuke Chen, Sithiprumnea Dul, Sandro Lehner, Milijana Jovic, Sabyasachi Gaan, Manfred Heuberger, Rudolf Hufenus, Ali Gooneie

Flame-retarded polymers, such as polyester textiles and sheets, are attracting attention with regard to their sustainability. Mechanical recycling is currently the most frequently used technique for improving the circularity of plastics. However, one complication of mechanical recycling is associated with the (still) inevitable mixtures of polymers and additives, which can influence material stability and significantly deteriorate the mechanical properties of recycled products. In this study, we aim to specifically investigate the interactions between mixtures of phosphorus flame retardants (FRs) in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and evaluate their potential role in the mechanical recycling of melt-spun fibers. Two highly relevant commercial FRs, namely a DOPO-derivative (DOPO-PEPA or DP) and Aflammit PCO 900 (AF), are added to PET compounds as additives using a melt compounder. The melt stability of PET/FR compounds over extended processing time is assessed by chemical, thermal, and rheological measurements. DP shows a molecular lubrication effect, lowering the melt viscosity of PET, while AF promotes chemical changes (i.e., chain branching/crosslinking). Interestingly, a PET compound containing hybrid mixtures of DP/AF 20/80 (wt.%/wt.%) shows the most stable behavior at high temperatures under both nitrogen and air atmospheres, thus showing a synergistic effect. Most importantly, in a recycling scenario, the stabilization effect persists at diluted concentrations below the typical FR contents in PET. Multiple extrusion cycles are used to assess the repeated processing behavior of the compounds, and the mechanical properties and fire behavior of melt-spun fibers are compared before and after recycling. The results reveal that DP can maintain the mechanical performance of recycled PET/FR fibers, even if it is mixed (contaminated) with AF.


April 2024 | Article | ROM participations help risky innovative companies | ESB


April 2024 | Market Report | The Circular Economy for Plastics - A European Analysis 2024 | Plastics Europe

The report provides insights into the significant progress made in transitioning towards higher circularity in the plastics sector between 2018 and 2022. Key findings include:

  • Exclusion of pre-consumer recycled plastics content from the measurement of circular plastics progress, aligning with the "Plastics Transition" roadmap.
  • Transition in measuring recycled quantities to occur when recycling takes place, following the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) (EU) 2018/852.
  • Majority of plastics waste incineration in the EU27+3 is for energy recovery.

March 2024 | Market Report short version | Bio-based Building Blocks and Polymers, Global Capacities, Production and Trends 2023-2028 | Nova Institut

The global bio-based polymer market is anticipated to witness a robust 17% annual growth from 2023 to 2028, driven primarily by demand from Asia and the USA. Europe lags behind due to insufficient political support. In 2023, notable increases in PLA and polyamide capacities were observed, along with advancements in epoxy resin production. The total production volume of bio-based polymers reached 4.4 million tonnes, constituting 1% of fossil-based polymers. Cellulose acetate and epoxy resins accounted for over half of bio-based production. The comprehensive report by the Nova-Institute forecasts these trends and provides detailed insights into market dynamics, capacities, and production data. The full report can be downloaded (€) here:


March 2024 | Article | Recycling in 2024, changes due to new legislation | Food Industry Journal 2024

The European Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation and the Dutch Circular Plastic Standard are about to be completed by early 2024. These legislations will force sweeping changes in the use of packaging, especially in the food industry, which comprises two-thirds of all plastic packaging. Although the new targets are still being negotiated, it is clear that they will have a major impact on the industry. The use of recycled material in food packaging is currently restricted by EU directives, causing tension between circular economy goals and food safety. At the same time, the recycling industry is under pressure from cheap new plastic from Asia and the Americas, putting companies out of business. Various stakeholders, such as petrochemicals, recyclers and supermarkets, have differing views on how to transition to a circular economy. Despite this complexity, new insights offer hope for the future, especially with regard to producing high-quality recyclate and closing packaging loops. More specific sorting and new technologies are crucial to this progress. Although approval procedures are still unclear, steps can be taken to make recyclate as clean as possible, preparing the plastic system for future legislative requirements.

Continue reading here: Recycling in 2024: Changes due to new legislation (

March 2024 | Research | Circular Design Research in The Netherlands | TU Delft

Peter Joore, Chair Network Applied Design Research: "The Netherlands emerges as a strategic partner for the Business of Design Week in Hong Kong, with Circular Design at its core in 2023. Spearheaded by CreativeNL, CLICKNL, the Netherlands Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao, and the Netherlands Innovation Network, the objective is to foster enduring international alliances. As Chair of the Network Applied Design Research (NADR), I am invigorated by this endeavor aligning with our core aspiration of global collaboration, particularly on sustainability and circularity. Our initiative to survey Circular Design Research in the Netherlands culminates in this publication, offering insights and exemplary practices curated by Dr. Ir. Marcel den Hollander and Ir. Marijke Idema, underpinned by expert advisories. This compendium aims to ignite dialogues and catalyze cooperative ventures between Dutch entities and their counterparts in Hong Kong, vital for sculpting a sustainable, circular, and livable world."


March 2024 | Quick scan | Climate policy in industry | VNO-NCW

This survey was conducted by VNO-NCW among 139 companies in industry in the period December 2023-February 2024. Approached were all ETS companies (331) and some large energy-intensive industry branches, active in the Netherlands.


March 2024 | Article | Landmark study links microplastics to serious health problems | Springer Nature

This article reveals a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The research focuses on the association between microplastics and adverse health outcomes. Conducted on over 200 individuals undergoing surgery, the study found that nearly 60% had microplastics in their main artery, correlating with a 4.5 times higher risk of heart attack, stroke, or death within approximately 34 months. While not conclusive of causation, the presence of microplastics, predominantly polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride, in arterial plaques suggests a potential link to inflammation and cardiovascular complications. The study underscores the urgent need for further research and global action to mitigate plastic pollution's health impacts: Read the article here:

March 2024 | EU directive Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

E-waste: Council adopts amendments to clarify who pays for management costs

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) amending Directive has been published in the EU's Official Journal. It will enter into force on April 8, 2024 and Member States will have until October 9, 2025 to transpose the Directive into national law.

Earlier in March, the Council of the European Union had adopted amendments to #WEEE legislation, which includes a range of products such as computers, fridges and photovoltaic panels.

The amendments aim to bring the WEEE directive into line with a 2022 EU Court of Justice judgment on the partial invalidity of the directive owing to unjustified retroactive application of extended producer responsibility to waste from photovoltaic panels placed on the market between August 13, 2005 and August 13, 2012.

More details here:


March 2024 | Market study | Global bio-based polymer market 2023 | nova-Institut GmbH

The global bio-based polymer market is experiencing significant growth, with an expected annual increase of 17% from 2023 to 2028, primarily driven by demand from Asia and the USA. However, Europe lags behind due to insufficient political support. In 2023, bio-based polymer production reached 4.4 million tonnes, comprising 1% of total polymer production. The market report "Bio-based Building Blocks and Polymers - Global Capacities, Production and Trends 2023-2028" provides comprehensive insights, including capacity development, production data, and market analysis. Asia leads in production capacities, while Europe's share has decreased. The report anticipates Asia to continue leading growth, particularly in PLA, PHA, and PA.


March 2024 | Research | Polyurethane Foam Chemical Recycling: Fast Acidolysis with Maleic Acid and Full Recovery of Polyol | Liu, Baoyuan and Westman, Zach and Richardson, Kelsey and Lim, Dingyuan and Stottlemyer, Alan L. and Farmer, Thomas and Gillis, Paul and Hooshyar, Nasim and Vlcek, Vojtech and Christopher, Phillip and Abu-Omar, Mahdi M.

Chemical recycling of polyurethane (PU) waste is
essential to displace the need for virgin polyol production and enable sustainable PU production. Currently, less than 20% of PU waste is downcycled through rebinding to lower value products than the original PU. Chemical recycling of PU waste often
requires significant input of materials like solvents and slow reaction rates. Here, we report the fast (<10 min) and solvent-free acidolysis of a model toluene diisocyanate (TDI)-based flexible polyurethane foam (PUF) at <200 °C using maleic – acid (MA) with a recovery of recycled polyol (repolyol) in 95% isolated yield. After workup (hydrolysis of repolyl ester and separations), the repolyol exhibits favorable physical properties that are comparable to the virgin polyol; these include 54.1 mg KOH/g OH number and 624 cSt viscosity. Overall, 80% by weight of the input PUF is isolated into two clean-cut fractions containing the repolyol and toluene diamine (TDA). Finally, end-of-life (EOL) mattress PUF waste is recycled successfully with high recovery of repolyol using MA acidolysis. The solvent-free and fast acidolysis with MA demonstrated in this work with both model and EOL PUF provides a potential pathway for sustainable and closed-loop PU production.


March 2024 | Research | Modeling assessment of resource competition for renewable basic chemicals and the effect of recycling | Musonda, F., Millinger, M., & Thrän, D.

This study examines pathways for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in Germany's chemical industry by 2050, focusing on key subsectors like ammonia and methanol. By analyzing carbon recycling's impact on emissions and resource demand, it finds net-zero is attainable at a marginal cost of 640-900 €/tCO2-eq, despite fossil fuel dependency. Renewable chemicals act as carbon sinks, but their higher costs pose deployment challenges, with a marginal CO2 price of 480-810 €/tCO2-eq. Transitioning to net-zero requires embracing circular economy principles, reducing both resource demand and GHG abatement costs by 13%-24% through carbon capture and utilization.


Feb 2024 | Online magazine: raw materials transition in Dutch industry | ISPT

Netherlands' advantageous position offers access to abundant green energy, enabling supply to 450 million European consumers with circular products. By 2050, sustainable energy will power production, mobility, and housing, fostering biodiversity and reducing climate impact. Material passports will guide consumers toward circular choices, while innovative processes will transform waste into new resources. Despite the energy-intensive nature of the transition, the Netherlands stands poised to lead, leveraging its coastal energy resources and logistical advantages. Retaining and greening heavy industry will be crucial for achieving a fully circular, climate-neutral economy, ensuring long-term sustainability and prosperity. Read the full online magazine about Material Change here:

Feb 2024 | Research | Structural analysis of petrochemical clusters in Germany: What can be learned for the transformation toward climate neutrality? | Journal of Business Chemistry | © 2024 Prof. Dr. Jens Leker (affiliated with University of Münster) and Prof. Dr. Hannes Utikal (affiliated with Provadis School of International Management and Technology)

The petrochemical industry is among the most relevant sectors from an economic, energetic and climate policy perspective. In Western Europe, production occurs in local chemical parks that form strongly connected and densely integrated regional clusters. This paper analyzes the structural characteristics of the petrochemical system in Germany and investigates three particularly distinct clusters regarding their challenges and chances for a transition towards climate-neutrality. For this, feedstock and energy supply, product portfolios and process integration as well as existing transformation activities are examined. We find that depending on their distinct network characteristics and location, unique and complex strategies are to be mastered for every cluster. Despite the many activities underway, none of them seems to have a strategic network to co-create a tailored defossilization strategy for the cluster - which is the core recommendation of this paper to develop.


Feb 2024 | Research |Plastic recycling stripped naked - from circular product to circular industry with recycling cascade | ChemSusChem | J.-P. Lange, S. R. A. Kersten, S. De Meester, M. C. P. van Eijk, K. Ragaert

This perspective combines various expertise to develop and analyze the concept of technology cascade for recycling waste plastics with the goal of displacing as much fossil crude oil as possible. It thereby presents archetype recycling technologies with their strengths and weaknesses. It then combines them in various cascades to process a representative plastic mix, and determines how much (fossil) naphtha could be displaced and at which energy consumption. The cascades rely on a limited number of parameters that are fully reported in supplementary information and that were used in a simple and transparent spreadsheet model. The calculated results bust several common myths in plastic recycling, e. g. by prioritizing here recycled volume over recycling efficiency, and prioritizing circular industry over circular products . It unravels the energy cost of solvent-based recycling processes, shows the key role of gasification and the possibility to displace up to 70% of the fossil feedstock with recycled carbon, a recycling rate that compares well with that aluminum, steel or paper. It suggests that deeper naphtha displacement would require exorbitant amount of energy. It therefore argues for the need to complement recycling with the use of renewable carbon, e. g. based on biomass, to fully defossilise the plastic industry.


| Podcast | The Circular Economy Show | Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Not specifically about plastics, but offering a wider perspective and featuring interviews on how to apply circular economy strategies, spotlight new systems, and assist entrepreneurs in their journey. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation welcomes you to The Circular Economy Show, a podcast discussing a new approach to designing, making, and using things, and how we can construct an economy suitable for the 21st century.

The podcast features multiple perspectives, including insights from Dr. Connie Bakker from TU Delft, discussing the application of circular design.


| Video | Confused about recycling? It's not your fault | TED-Ed by Shannon Odell

Dig into the biggest problems facing our current plastic recycling process, and explore potential solutions to these systems.


If you've ever looked at the bottom of a disposable bottle or cup, you've probably noticed a recycling symbol. Seeing this, many people assume the item should be put in a recycling bin. Yet many plastics are incapable of being recycled at most centers. In fact, only 9% is recycled each year. So why are so few plastics recycled? And what do these symbols actually mean? Shannon Odell investigates.

Jan 2024 | Research | Accurate determination of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) content in polyolefin blends using machine learning-assisted differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) analysis | Polymer Testing Science Direct Elsevier | Amir Bashirgonbadi, Yannick Ureel, Laurens Delva, Rudinei Fiorio, Kevin M. Van Geem, Kim Ragaert

Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) are among the most recycled polymers. However, these polymers present similar physicochemical characteristics and cross-contamination between them is commonly observed, affecting the quality of the recyclates. With the increasing demand for recycled plastics, understanding the composition of these materials is crucial. Numerous techniques have been introduced in the literature to determine the composition of recycled plastics. An ideal technique should be accessible, cost-efficient, fast, and accurate. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) emerges as a suitable technique since it analyzes the thermal behavior of compounds under controlled time and temperature conditions, entitling the quantitative determination of each component, e.g., in PE/PP blends. Nevertheless, the existing predictive methods lack accuracy in estimating the composition of PE/PP blends from DSC analysis since the composition of this blend affects its overall crystallinity. This study advances the state-of-the-art regarding this quantification using DSC by implementing a non-linear calibration curve correlating the evolutions of crystallinity with blend composition. Additionally, a machine-learned (ML) model is introduced and validated, achieving high accuracy for the composition determination, presenting an overall mean absolute error as low as 1.0 wt%. Notably, this ML-assisted approach can also quantify the content of subcategory polymers, enhancing its utility.


Jan 2024 | Research |The potential of emerging bio-based products to reduce environmental impacts. | Nat Commun 14, 8521 | Radboud University | Zuiderveen, E.A.R., Kuipers, K.J.J., Caldeira, C. et al.

The ongoing discourse regarding the sustainability of bio-based products raises questions about the environmental advantages of substituting fossil fuels with bio-resources. In this study, researchers examined the environmental trade-offs of 98 emerging bio-based materials in comparison to their fossil counterparts, drawing from 130 studies. While the life cycle emissions of greenhouse gases for emerging bio-based products are on average 45% lower (-52 to -37%; 95% confidence interval), significant variability exists among individual bio-based products, none of which achieve net-zero emissions. Categorized by product type, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions range from 19% (-52 to 35%) for bioadhesives to 73% (-84 to -54%) for biorefinery products. Additionally, the study highlights an increase in eutrophication (369%; 163 to 737%) and underscores the importance of considering environmental trade-offs. These findings underscore the need for evaluating the environmental sustainability of bio-based products on a case-by-case basis and advocate for more innovative product developments to achieve climate-neutral objectives.


Jan 2024 | blog post | VU Law Students Challenge Colgate-Palmolive's Recyclability Claims: Unveiling the Realities of Plastic Recycling and Sustainability | Jan Willem Slijkoord on LinkedIN

In a recent legal victory, Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam (VU) law students successfully challenged Colgate-Palmolive's (CP) recyclability claims regarding Ajax Lime cleaner bottles before the Dutch advertising authority. The claims of "100% recyclable," "cap and bottle recyclable," and "bottle made from 100% recycled plastic" were deemed "misleading" by the Stichting Reclame Code (SRC) committee. The SRC's decision, supported by the students, exposes the myth of plastic recyclability and holds companies accountable. The students argue that marketing claims portraying plastic as sustainable are irresponsible, asserting that plastic waste is often downcycled into low-quality materials or not recycled at all.

A scrutiny of Ajax bottles reveals their composition mainly as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) with a red high-density polyethylene (HDPE) cap. While technically recyclable, the recycling rates from mixed post-consumer plastic waste are limited to 39-50%, making the claim impractical. The students' assertion that plastics are not sustainable under current recycling circumstances is supported, emphasizing the need for improved recycling practices. This blog post delves into the complexities of plastic recycling, challenges the sustainability of current practices, and advocates for responsible marketing claims backed by verifiable evidence and certifications:

Jan 2024 | Article | Voluntary initiatives to end plastic pollution aren't enough: A global treaty is now needed | World Economic Forum

The battle against plastic pollution requires more than voluntary efforts from businesses. Ambitious, coordinated policy measures spanning the entire plastic life cycle are imperative. Despite recent treaty negotiations attempting to narrow the focus, governments must prioritize comprehensive solutions. The World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting serves as a crucial platform for discussions, offering a unique opportunity to address the issue. Urgent steps are needed as current plastic life cycles remain primarily linear, with alarming statistics showing exponential growth in plastic production and waste. Voluntary initiatives, while beneficial, fall short in scale. A legally binding treaty, supported by the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty, is advocated to establish harmonized regulations and eliminate plastic waste globally:

Jan 2024 | policy report | The National Technology Strategy | Ministry of Economic Affairs

The National Technology Strategy (NTS), presented on behalf of the Cabinet, provides guidance for strategic technology policy in the Netherlands. Developed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, the strategy highlights ten key technologies as essential for a more productive, sustainable, healthy and safer Netherlands. With priority technologies for which specific agendas have been established, the NTS focuses on strengthening technology leadership. The strategy underscores the need for sharp choices given space, labor and energy constraints. The report offers insight into strengths and challenges, identifies application areas and formulates ambitions. Along with promising growth markets and in anticipation of the new administration, the NTS serves as a guide for strategic technology, innovation, industry and entrepreneurship policy.

de-national-technology strategy

Jan 2024 | Market research | Facts & Figures 2023: Navigating The Future Of The EU27 Chemical Industry | Cefic

Key emerging economies are growing faster than the EU27 and the US, with China outpacing all others.

China has emerged as the global leader in chemical production, contributing over 40% to worldwide chemical sales and becoming EU27's largest chemicals trade partner. Europe, grappling with economic challenges, has multiplied its trade dependency on China in the chemical sector by 4.5 times.

Read more about the Facts & Figures 2023 report from Cefic about the chemical industry here


Jan 2024 | Podcast | Is the Growth Fund successful? | NPO radio 1

In this Radio 1 broadcast, Maurice van Tilburg is asked about how the National Growth Fund works.

Investing in the future of the Dutch economy: that was the major goal of the National Growth Fund, which was established more than three years ago by then ministers Wopke Hoekstra and Eric Wiebes. What has the National Growth Fund achieved in recent years? And what does the future look like?

Presenter Jan Willem Wesselink

Dec 2023 | Market Report | Transparent 2023: Annual ReSource: Plastic Progress Report | World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

In Transparent 2023, the fourth installment of ReSource: Plastic's reporting series, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) presents a comprehensive overview of the progress made by its Member companies in addressing the global plastic crisis in 2022. The report underscores the importance of eliminating unnecessary plastic, with ReSource Members successfully reducing problematic plastic in their portfolios from 3.2% in 2018 to 1.2% in 2022. It highlights the potential of reuse models and the ongoing exploration by all nine Members in integrating such strategies. The shift to sustainable inputs, including increased use of recycled content, is evident, though biobased content remains below 1%. The report emphasizes the need to double global recycling and composting efforts, addressing challenges with hard-to-recycle polymers. Furthermore, insights into data harmonization and the expansion of measurement and disclosure platforms underscore the vital role of collaborative action in achieving WWF's vision of No Plastic in Nature by 2030.


Dec 2023 | Article | Recyclate in any product | Plastic & Rubber

The National Circular Plastics Standard (NCPN) is legislation that will take effect in 2027 and requires companies to incorporate a certain percentage of recyclate in their products. The goal is to encourage the use of recyclate to contribute to a circular economy. Implementation of the NCPN involves consultations with various stakeholders, including companies, ministries and industry associations. An administrative trading system that allows companies to negotiate the use of recyclate, similar to carbon emissions trading, is being developed. Sounding board groups and technical working groups are also active to discuss the exact scope, monitoring, enforcement and other aspects of the legislation. The exact requirements regarding the percentage of recyclate in products by 2030 have yet to be determined, but it is expected that resources will be available to help companies transition to using recyclate. However, there are still concerns about the lack of a level playing field and the impact of the standard on the Dutch industry.


Dec 2023 | Research | Unveiling Advances In Chemical Recycling: A Conversation With Professor Kevin Van Geem

In Europe, recycling rates remain relatively low, with only 38% of waste in the EU being recycled(Eurostat, 2022). A rapid scale-up of recycling capacities and infrastructure is critical to meet the EU's mandatory targets. We need to see plastic waste as a valuable resource and a key element of a circular economy. The idea behind circularity is to establish a continuous cycle, including collection, sorting, recycling and regeneration.


Nov 2023 | Market report | 2023 Flexible Films Market in Europe State Of Production, Collection And Recycling Data | Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) & ICIS

This report, published by PRE in partnership with ICIS, provides latest data and trends on: - the current state of flexible films market in Europe including production, demand, collection, and recycling; - key constraints and challenges faced across the flexible films value chain; - key factors driving future growth of flexible films recycling; and - way forward to develop a robust system for flexible films recycling in Europe. This is the second iteration of this market report with the first one published in 2020. PRE intends to continue to update and re-publish this 'State of Play' report biennially to provide a periodic narrative and assessment of the progress of flexible films recycling in Europe.


Nov 2023 | Policy report | Away from the disposable society | Council on Environment and Infrastructure

In this opinion, the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli) looks at ways to reverse the throw-away trend in our economy. What government measures are needed for this, at the European level and in the Netherlands?

rli_opinion_away_from_the_road society

Oct 2023 | Status, potentials and risks of Chemical recycling of waste plastics | Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) | Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Quicker

Chemical recycling converts plastic waste into chemicals or raw materials using technologies like solvolysis, liquefaction, pyrolysis, and gasification. Solvolysis uses solvents to process polymers into monomers or secondary raw materials. Liquefaction and pyrolysis thermally convert polymers into smaller molecules, with pyrolysis occurring without oxygen. Gasification involves converting polymers into gas with limited oxygen. However, chemical recycling lacks a universal legal definition, posing challenges for compatibility with regulations and business planning. It is not yet a state-of-the-art technology, especially with contaminated materials, leading to frequent failures during development or commissioning. Mechanical recycling typically outperforms chemical recycling in CO2 emissions, although chemical recycling has potential ecological benefits over waste incineration. The complex processes and contaminated inputs challenge the practical detoxification of recycled materials. Successful chemical recycling requires integration with refinery or chemical sites to optimize recovery and disposal. Despite technical and economic hurdles, pilot projects continue, driven by socio-political factors and financial resources.


Oct 2023 | Market Report | Plastics The Fast Facts | Plastics Europe

Plastics - the fast Facts shows preliminary global and European plastics production data. It also provides European plastics industry's key economic figures, trade balance, top trade partners, and preliminary estimations of European plastics conversion. For a more complete and in-depth analysis of the plastics circular economy in Europe, please refer to Plastics Europe's biennial "Circular Economy for Plastics - A European Overview" reports. Download the report here


Oct 2023 | EPR Position Paper | Recycling Network Benelux

The paper discusses the governance issues surrounding Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes and their impact on the effectiveness of EPR in addressing environmental concerns. It highlights the need for EPR schemes to focus on the entire lifecycle of products, including design, production, and use-phase, rather than solely on end-of-life management. The absence of harmonization across Europe, inadequate cost coverage, and the non-inclusion of stakeholders outside the EU are identified as major obstacles. The concept of free riders benefiting from EPR systems without contributing their share of the costs is also addressed. The document recommends combining EPR with other economic policies and provides legislative measures to advance the working of EPR, making it an effective environmental tool that helps achieve reduction, prevention, and separate collection of waste.


Sep 2023| Market Research | Research implications National Plastics Standard | Partners for Innovation

This study examines the feasibility of introducing a proposed national standard for a minimum proportion of recyclate and bio-based plastics and rubber in products made by Dutch processors for the Dutch market. The goal is to contribute to a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 and the replacement of primary fossil plastic. The standard aims to close the plastic chain and reduce CO2 emissions by promoting the use of recyclate and bio-based materials. The research highlights potential challenges such as administrative burdens on processors and the need for supporting tools. The research findings indicate varying feasibility and challenges regarding the availability, testing and legal aspects of recyclate and bio-based materials. Research was commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW).


Aug 2023 | Market Report | Best practices for Chemical Recycling | Holland Circular Hotspot

The collaborative efforts in the plastics ecosystem are highlighted as best practices in the material transition by the document from Holland Circular Hotspot.


June 2023 | Whitepaper | From Plastic Free to Future Proof Plastics | TNO, Fraunhofer

This white paper discusses the transition from plastic-free to future-proof plastics and how plastics can be used in a circular economy. It highlights the need for sustainable production and recycling of plastics, as well as the development of alternative solutions for the use of plastics in different sectors. It also discusses Europe's long-term strategic vision for a climate-neutral economy.


June 2023 | Market Research | Towards solutions to end-of-waste status issues | Rebel

This report was commissioned by Invest-NL and GCNE to find solutions to end-of-waste status issues. The current system for demonstrating the conversion of waste to safe products is challenging. European regulations and Dutch measures have been taken to address the barriers around end-of-waste status. Proposed solutions include introducing voluntary certification and end-of-waste decision making. Clarification of criteria for self-assessment and status assessment is important. The use of a decision as an end point is proposed to align with European developments and address international trade issues.


May 2023 | Podcast | Circular Plastic Podcasts | Topsoe

These podcasts bring you the most recent knowledge and best practices of the circular plastic economy. Topsoe Product Line Director, Milica Folić, is joined by major market players and industry experts to dive into a broad spectrum of circular plastic topics. Together, they will cover the latest trends in plastic types, recycling technologies, and legislation.

March 2023 | Market Report | Transition Outlook Brightsite | Céline Fellay & Paul Brandts

This paper discusses the necessary developments for a sustainable circular society, emphasizing the need for large-scale, efficient cycles for (bio)materials and electrification of high-temperature processes. It also highlights the importance of societal support and responsible industrial water usage. The document addresses the challenges of scarcity of sustainable raw materials and the need for regulation of demand from various sectors. Additionally, it presents a case study of a fictional chemical complex, CHEM-NL, to illustrate the transition to renewable raw materials and energy, and discusses the impact of transition choices on safety, the environment, and societal acceptance.


Dec 2022 | Waste Management as a catalyst to a Circular Economy | Holland Circular Hotspot

Waste management is a critical component of a circular economy, which is needed to combat waste, resource scarcity, and CO2 emissions. The document emphasizes the importance of waste management in achieving the Paris climate goals and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Netherlands is highlighted as a front-runner in waste management and circular economy. Various companies and technologies in waste management, recycling, and circular economy are mentioned, showcasing innovative approaches. The document discusses the evolution of waste management in Europe and the role of economic steering instruments like landfill taxes and Extended Producer Responsibility. It also provides a toolkit for establishing a sound waste management infrastructure and discusses waste management in the Latin American region. The section concludes by highlighting the importance of financial mechanisms, public awareness, and education in promoting waste management and circular economy.


Aug 2022 | Chemical Recycling: State of Play | Eunomia

CHEM Trust publishes a detailed report on "Chemical Recycling," a set of technologies that are often claimed to be on the cusp of revolutionizing the recycling of plastics. This study finds that these technologies in reality have major problems, including substantial energy use, a need for pre-sorted, good quality plastic input and concerns about hazardous chemicals.

The report, "Chemical Recycling: State of Play," written by the environmental consultancy Eunomia, reviews available information on a large number of different chemical recycling technologies, and attempts to assess their performance and feasibility, including their energy use, climate impacts, to what extent they are able to address hazardous chemicals and how they might fit into waste management systems.


April 2022 | Research | Probabilistic material flow analysis and emissions modeling for five commodity plastics as macroplastics and microplastics | Zipeng Liu , Bernd Nowack

This study addresses the critical need for detailed knowledge regarding polymer flows in the anthroposphere and their impact on the environment, essential for effective plastic management. Focusing on five specific polymers-polyurethane (PUR), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polyamide (PA), polycarbonate (PC), and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)-probabilistic material flow analysis (PMFA) was employed. The analysis traced polymer flows from production across 45 product categories to end-of-life scenarios in Europe and Switzerland. Results revealed significant variations in polymer flows, influenced by their diverse applications. The study estimated macro- and microplastic emissions into Switzerland's environment for 2018, indicating masses of 208±76 t for PA, 179±98 t for PUR, 79±26 t for PC, 36±23 t for PMMA, and 25±6 t for ABS. These emissions represented a small fraction relative to Switzerland's total production and imports, challenging previous, potentially inflated, estimates and suggesting a more realistic scenario for countries with effective waste treatment systems.


Feb 2022 | Improved science-based transformation pathways for the development of safe and sustainable plastics | Environment International

Projected plastic production volumes are rising, as is societal and political attention to plastic pollution and possible health impacts. In line with ambitions for climate mitigation and the circular economy, various national and international policies and action plans address the reduction of impacts of plastics. Quantitative scenario analyses show that even if current ambitious targets to reduce plastics are achieved, plastics will remain a source of millions of tons of environmental pollution annually. To achieve a sustainable transformation of the global plastics economy, 'extraordinary effort' and 'coordinated global action' beyond current ambitions are needed. While mapping knowledge gaps for the effects of micro and nano plastics (MNP) is crucial, mapping alone is not enough to achieve the needed transition. In this communication, we propose a scope for the exploration of societal transformation pathways to safe and sustainable plastics. To see which efforts are needed globally we need to advance in the following three areas: (i) embedding risk assessment methodologies in wider cost-benefit and life cycle analyses; (ii) using safe-and-sustainable design strategies that include alternative solutions and look at multiple life cycles, and (iii) reflecting on the societal transformation pathways with stakeholders by using co-created quantitative models. We believe that these practices are crucial in the coming decade to realise the extraordinary effort of defining safe and sustainable plastics.
Keywords: Plastic; Impact assessment; Safe & sustainable; Life cycle; Circular economy; Transition; Co-creation. By: Susanne Waaijers-van der Loop, Anne van Bruggen, Nick R.M. Beijer, Adrienne Sips, Ana Maria de Roda Husman, Flemming Cassee, Willie Peijnenburg