Silicone cartridges in the plastics cycle

Project

Silicone cartridges in the plastics cycle

Supply chain project

The disposal and recycling of the silicon cartridges that are (nearly) empty are not straightforward. They end up in the household plastic packaging through a number of ways and this stands in the way of a recycling process that is sustainable for the future. The silicone cartridge itself is not the problem, the leftover contents are. Many of the disposed cartridges still contain bits of glue and they can obstruct the machines. Partners for Innovation worked together with all parties in the chain on a solution to this problem.

All links in the chain

With twelve participant parties joining, every company in the supply chain was represented. And this is key to success: in order to improve a process that covers so many links in the chain, results are likely to fail if one link is missing. Once you get all of them around the table (producer, supplier, wholesaler, waste collector, waste sorter, recycler etc.) you can actually start to imagine results at the end of the line.

Solutions

Despite the increased cooperation on a European level, the disposal of silicone cartridge differs by country. Therefore one of the recommendations is: set up a research on how cartridges  are disposed of in Belgium and in Germany. The results of this research could help develop a uniform model for disposal in Europe.

Symbols & watermark

Home improvement stores in the Netherlands have asked their suppliers to apply a waste symbol on the packaging. This symbol informs the buyer – either professional or DIY – on how to dispose the silicon cartridges. Another solution is applying a watermark on the packaging. The watermark would cover the whole surface of the packaging in order for it to be picked up by a camera, even when it’s only partly visible on the conveyor belt. Using a watermark could could also be helpful for separating food from non food. Thinking ahead, symbols and watermarks can be used for marketing and logistics purposes, too

More to discover

The findings coming out of this project go beyond the high tack market. TUSTI, a recycling company, conducted an experiment to see whether it’s possible to remove the leftover bits of glue from the cases (see report). Den Braven (sealant producer) placed, together with its suppliers, a watermark on their cases to participate in a sorting experiment by TOMRA and P&G (see PETCycle project).

View the report (Dutch) or visit the website of Kunststofkringloop

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Ingeborg Gort +31 (0)6 3933 3524