Within this project, an inventory has been made of the suitable processing options for processing plastic packaging waste of the Dutch state government. Hereby the technical feasibility of different options is analysed, but also readiness in the Netherlands (within the next 5 years), related cost and environmental impact. The separately collected plastic packaging waste of the Dutch state government has been studied during the last months of 2018. The composition was studied both with regard to the material composition and the types of packages and objects that are present. This material was sampled from five different locations in twofold. The separately collected material is composed of 60% plastics, small amounts of beverage cartons and metals (both 3%) and two non-targeted materials – paper & board and organic materials – in relatively large amounts (both approximately 17%). Currently, this material cannot be processed in conventional sorting facilities for post-consumer plastic packaging waste due to the relatively high concentrations of both contaminants. Ideally, the collection method is adapted in such a manner that the concentration of both contaminants is lowered below 15% or even better below 10%. This can potentially be achieved by information campaigns towards the users, a change in the waste collection system (the size of the opening of the waste collection bins, use of icons and the grouping of the waste bins for the various materials). Subsequently, the separately collected plastic waste can be treated at conventional sorting facilities for post-consumer lightweight packaging waste. An existing model for post-consumer plastic packaging waste was used to approximate the flows of the plastic packages through conventional sorting and recycling companies. The model predicts that roughly 58 tons of washed milled goods can be made from the separately collected plastic packaging waste. In case these recycled plastics are used in applications where virgin plastics are replaced then this will approximately result in a reduction of the greenhouse gases of 239 tons CO2 equivalents. The research of alternative methods shows that only the mechanical recovery of plastics from residual waste is ready in the Netherlands. This demands that the residual waste of the Dutch government will be processed in a central waste sorting facility and this is financially less attractive. Magnetic density separation is likely to develop within 5 years’ time to a robust alternative, but with currently unknown financial consequences. Other alternative processing options are not yet ready or are only a partial solution. Therefore the current system of separate collection, sorting and mechanical recycling is – based on our current knowledge – the most suitable processing option for the next 5 years.
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