The province of Upper Austria wants to establish itself as a recognized model region for sustainable plastics solutions and circular economy. Around 80 experts from companies and research institutions have elaborated the path to this goal in a structured process and endowed it with a vision: By 2030, the contents of the yellow bag should be 100 percent recyclable.
"The aim of this project was to draw up a technology roadmap with a time horizon of 2030, which would include concrete key topics and options for action," says project manager Beatrix Wepner. The "Roadmap Sustainable Plastic Solutions" was developed by the business location agency Business Upper Austria together with the AIT Center for Innovation Systems & Policy and with the support of the BMK- Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology.
Four workshops on the topic of "Sustainable Plastics Solutions" took place from July to September 2021. The approximately 100 participants came from companies throughout the value cycle and worked together in three sector-specific groups: plastics processing companies, companies from the food sector and companies from the waste sector. Based on the results of the first four workshops, three key issues were identified:
- Collection, sorting and recycling
- Materials, technologies and
- Research and development as overarching topic
In the last workshop with participants from all sectors, the focus was on implementation of measures within the thematic complexes, on framework conditions and legislation, and on business models. This resulted in several fields of action, such as the introduction of a uniform standard for labeling, the reduction of material diversity, the establishment of a digital watermark and the equipping of sorting facilities with it. Other measures include a uniform collection system throughout Austria, a new recycling code for biodegradable plastics at EU level, or a holistic recycling strategy that includes mechanical, chemical and solvent-based recycling. And finally, creating awareness of (plastic) waste as a new valuable material is necessary among the general population.