The impact of collection portfolio expansion on key performance indicators of the Dutch recycling system for Post-Consumer Plastic Packaging Waste, a comparison between 2014 and 2017

Marieke Brouwer*, Caterina Picuno, Eggo U. Thoden van Velzen, Kerstin Kuchta, Steven De Meester, Kim Ragaert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The recycling network of post-consumer plastic packaging waste (PCPPW) was studied for the Netherlands in 2017 with material flow analysis (MFA) and data reconciliation techniques. In comparison to the previous MFA of the PCPPW recycling network in 2014, the predominant change is the expansion of the collection portfolio from only plastic packages to plastic packages, beverage cartons and metal objects. The analysis shows that the amounts of recycled plastics products (as main washed milled goods) increased from 75 to 103 Gg net and the average polymeric purity of the recycled products remained nearly constant. Furthermore, the rise in the amounts of recycled products was accompanied with a rise in the total amount of rejected materials at cross docking facilities and sorting residues at the sorting facilities. This total amount grew from 19 Gg in 2014 to 70 Gg gross in 2017 and is over-proportional to the rise in recycled products. Hence, there is a clear trade-off between the growth in recycled plastics produced and the growth in rejects and residues. Additionally, since the polymeric purity of the recycled plastics did not significantly improve during the last years, most of the recycled plastics from PCPPW are still only suited for open-loop recycling. Although this recycling system for PCPPW is relatively advanced in Europe, it cannot be considered circular, since the net recycling yield is only 26 ± 2% and the average polymeric purity of the recycled plastics is 90 ± 7%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-121
Number of pages10
JournalWaste Management
Volume100
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Collection portfolio expansion
  • Net recycling yields
  • Polymeric purity of recycled products
  • Post-consumer plastic packaging waste
  • Recycling

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