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Sustainable Product Chains for Plastics

SUSPLAST means to advance knowledge about the transition to sustainable plastic product chains.

The project will progress through innovative forms of stakeholder engagement and co-production of knowledge (e.g. co-creative workshops, mobile labs etc.). SUSPLAST will develop transition pathways and assess them in several dimensions, integrating technical, economic, social and policy perspectives. SUSPLAST will develop and provide research-based advice for policy-oriented and industrial strategies towards a sustainable plastics system.

The transition to sustainable product chains for plastics involve improvement in the resource and material efficiencies of plastics in consumer goods, a significant increase in the reuse and recycling of plastics, a shift to new plastic additives with low environmental and health impacts, and a switch to renewable feedstock. The feedstock issue is closely linked to trends in other industrial sectors where the development of renewable electricity, power-to-gas, carbon capture and use, and technologies for a variety of bio-based products are shaping the prospects for plastics production that make use of alternative sources of energy and materials. One recent example is plastic production using renewable electricity as power and carbon in carbon dioxide as a carbon source, meaning that plastic does not need to be nor fossil- nor bio-based, but can be carbon dioxide based. In contrast to this primary conversion step, the use, reuse and recycling of plastics represents a particular transition pathway. It is less dependent on developments in other sectors and involves a much broader and diverse set of actors taking part in the formulation, design, use, reuse, material recycling and energy recovery. The actors in the life cycle of plastics hence range from large companies to household consumers at different stages.