Category "Interviews"


“PLAST2bCLEANED first assessments indicate that the new recycling techniques are economic viable and more sustainable compared to the current treatments.”

by Plast2BeCleaned

Interview with Judith Kessens, Senior Project Manager Circular Economy and Esther Zondervan-van den Beuken, Program Manager Circular Plastics at TNO and coordinators of the PLAST2BCLEANED project

What is TNO’s experience in circular plastics?

E: TNO is conducting independent research into circular plastics. This research varies from innovations on plastic product design to sustainable technologies for recycling plastics.

What is the company’s purpose behind circular plastics and what methodology you follow?

J: Plastic waste from electrical and electronic equipment, such as computers, refrigerators, and telephones, contains many additives that are difficult to recycle. At this moment, these plastics are often processed in undesirable ways outside the European Union. This leads to environmental pollution, unnecessary CO2 emissions and a loss of valuable circular raw materials.

E: TNO coordinates the PLAST2bCLEANED project. Together with our partners, we are developing various circular recycling techniques for plastics. Additives such as bromine and antimony trioxide are separated from the plastic polymer with superheated solvent.

J: In this way, we achieve a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. We prevent environmental pollution. Moreover, polymers from plastic waste will soon be available as a circular raw material.

E: The developed technology can easily be translated into waste streams from other sectors, such as the automotive industry, construction & infrastructure, and the packaging industry.

What are the PLAST2bCLEANED results until now?

J: In the first stage of the project, the equipment for the novel plastic sorting process was set-up and calibrated; Based on over 300 experiments, a flow diagram was drawn for novel recycling process. In the laboratory setting, the feasibility of the technology has been proven.

E: Likewise, first assessments indicate that the new recycling techniques are economic viable and more sustainable compared to the current treatments. 

What will be the next steps for the project?

J: The project will soon make the transition from the TNO laboratory in Delft to a pilot plant. Samples weighing fifty kilograms are processed in this pilot plant.

E: This allows the composition and properties of the recycled polymer to be evaluated. We also investigate economic viability.


“At Juchheim, we design and build a semiflow pilot-unit for dissolution and subsequent separation of undissolved residues”

by Plast2BeCleaned

Interview with Christoph Zang, Managing Partner at Juchheim

How is Juchheim going to contribute to PLAST2bCLEANED success?

Juchheim designs and builds a semiflow pilot-unit for dissolution and subsequent separation of undissolved residues. This is made possible by transferring the results from the lab-experiments of our research partners to pilot-scale equipment.

What are the main challenges ahead?

At Jucheim we face mainly two big challenges. On the one hand, processing superheated solvents at elevated pressures demands a thorough selection of concepts and equipment and, on the other, apparatus design for a mechanical solid-liquid separation with a wide size and shape spectrum. All this is clearly challenging , but we are excited about that!


“COVID-19 has made PLAST2bCLANED’s stakeholder engagement much more complicated, due to the cancellation of the most important recycling conferences”

by Plast2bCleaned

Interview to Lein Tange, Sustainability Director at ICL Group.

How does the specification of the bromine and antimony fractions work?

At our facilities of ICL in Terneuzen (The Netherlands), we can receive only liquid streams due to the type of burner. These streams will be processed in the bromine recovery unit.

As specification, it is important to remark that the amount of metals is limited as finally the metals are passing a wastewater treatment and the metals are ending up in the sludge.

Therefore, we separate the Antimony Trioxide (ATO) during the process in such a way that the final residue does not contain more than a certain amount of ATO.

What are the main challenges behind the stakeholder engagement?

The stakeholder engagement is not usually a challenge as all PLAST2bCLEANED members do have a large network and they frequently attend conferences and workshops. Nevertheless, COVID-19 breakdown is making things more difficult, as the participation in face-to face events is no longer a possibility, and those are much more effective than webinars or other digital networking in place.

From March till September all important recycling conferences were cancelled. Although we can still use our website, and our social media channels to disseminate the project, it cannot be compared to a real presence! We will continue to do our best anyway!


“Initiatives such as PLAST2bCLEANED endorse the path down which ELIX is heading, towards a model of greater efficiency and rationality in the use of plastic materials”

by Plast2bCleaned

Interview to María Romeu, Environmental Technician and Toni Prunera, Head of Business Development and R&D at ELIX POLYMERS.

Q: What are ELIX’s main responsibilities within the project?

A (María): ELIX Polymers, a member of Sinochem International, is a leading manufacturer of Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) resins and derivatives in Europe.

Operating from our head office in Tarragona, Spain, and with sales support teams in all key markets, our company is a specialist provider of tailor-made solutions for high quality thermoplastics applications. With a 40-year track record, ELIX Polymers is an expert in ABS polymers, and it has the resources, the expertise and the experience to create value for its customers through highly individual solutions.

(Toni): ELIX is the only ABS manufacturer that this initiative incorporates, thereby allowing us to provide support to various working groups based on our experience and knowledge of one of the main plastics used in electrical and electronics devices.

Likewise, ELIX participates in various phases of the project:

  • Quality and main characteristics of the prime materials.
  • Establishment of the specifications expected of the material that is obtained during the process of an electrical/electronic waste recycling system.
  • Validation of the resulting product (polymer).

Q: What does belonging to the PLAST2bCLEANED consortium mean for ELIX?

M: At ELIX we are committed to the circular economy, and we back our commitment through responsible innovation projects such as PLAST2bCLEANED, thereby making a positive contribution to the recyclability and circularity of polymers. The objective of all this is to preserve functionality in applications for end customers thanks to both close cooperation with our main customers and knowledge of the requirements of each market segment.

T: As members of the project’s consortium, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to create new solutions, while learning from each other and guaranteeing sustainable growth over time.

Initiatives such as this one endorse the path down which ELIX is heading, towards a model of greater efficiency and rationality in the use of plastic materials. We will therefore continue to support all initiatives that are designed to promote new circular business models, products and services that may be beneficial to society and the environment.


Interview to Alessandro Mazzon and Marco Garilli

by Plast2bCleaned

Interview to Alessandro Mazzon, Project Financing Manager and Marco Garilli, Innovation Expert at Electrolux and responsible for the PLAST2bCLEANED formulation for an end user application.

Q: How is Electrolux participating in the PLAST2bCLEANED project? 

A: Electrolux is the sustainability leader in the appliance industry and this leadership must be constantly strengthened through innovative solutions that go beyond consolidated practices and developments. The use of recycled plastics from Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), which today is limited due to the presence of harmful substances, represents a challenging opportunity to make the company’s business completely circular.

PLAST2bCLEANED project allows Electrolux to investigate this topic and to validate the applicability of developing solutions as industrial end-user. For these reasons, in the project, Electrolux is not only committed to proposing possible applications of recycled materials in the white goods sector but also aims to share its experience in plastics and related industrial processes, to get prototype appliances that, in some components, will adopt the recycled plastics obtained by PLAST2bCLEANED recovering process.

Q: Which applications and benefits are expected to get at an industrial level?

A: Electrolux’s ambition is to replace, in its products, virgin materials with recycled materials and increase their usage of 20,000 tonnes annually in order to propose to the market appliances with a significant reduction of the environmental impact from their life cycle perspective. Use of recycled plastics, and in particular those coming from WEEE, is a great opportunity to communicate to consumers the company efforts of making better use of resources and of running its business in an environmentally-friendly way, as well as to make them aware that they can also contribute to saving the planet when buying Electrolux products. Moreover, those plastics are not only recycled but also cleaned from hazardous substances, i.e. flame retardants, that give these materials an added value for strategic applications in the sector.