Catalysing a switch to a circular economy through plastic waste prevention

eCircular is accelerating the circularity of plastic-based material systems and dematerialising plastic demand, with the vision of a reaching a carbon-neutral material system by 2050. The programme thrives for radical digital innovations for waste prevention and their up-scaling.

Digital technologies foster traceability of materials and products, allow for accurate information flows on product and material qualities and availability, reducing the fragmentation of knowledge and regulation. Market transparency can be improved, search costs reduced and effectiveness processes can be enhanced. This digital transformation can enable a quicker transition towards plastic waste reduction and prevention.

eCircular will promote smart manufacturing solutions, advanced eco-design approaches, new business models and alternative consumption patterns. Advanced policies and industry standards will be explored to scale-up innovative solutions.

The challenge

49 million tons of plastic were used in the EU in 2015 for packaging, building and construction, automotive, or electronics. Currently, less than 40 per cent of plastics are recycled, more than 30 per cent are incinerated for energy recovery and the remaining are landfilled.

The quality of recycled plastics is increasing – however, the overall uptake of recycled plastics remains low. Only 6 per cent of new plastic materials come from recycling; 95 per cent of the potential economic value in plastic packaging currently goes to waste. Failure to recycle costs the European economy 105 billion euros each year. eCircular aims to tackle this issue, enhancing plastic waste prevention by developing and supporting digital innovations.

What we offer

We enable transition pathways towards circular economy and decarbonisation, with a strategic and long-term perspective. Dematerialisation and resource efficiency are the final goals with huge societal, economic and environmental value.

We will explore, foster and evaluate instruments to improve waste prevention in the plastics cycle through:

  • Scouting & identifying  innovative ideas from industry and providing test beds.
  • Incubation of innovative  disruptive concepts.
  • Knowledge sharing and  capability building.
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