Dr. Jana Kadlecová, from Multicycle project industrial partner SILON s.r.o. in the Czech Republic, reflects on her participation as a Working Group Moderator at a session dedicated to exploring innovation barriers to the circular economy of plastics, and ways of overcoming them, at the 2019 HARMONI Summit – The Right Framework for Innovation.

Organized by the HARMONI project, a SPIRE CSA looking into EU policy and standardization issues for the process industries, the HARMONI Summit could be regarded as one of the most important events of the year within the SPIRE cPPP and, certainly from the perspective of Multicycle represented an excellent early opportunity to pursue our intent to engage actively and productively with other SPIRE projects and initiatives. I suppose my role as a Technical Key Account Manager with responsibility for new product development, validations and approval at SILON, a compounding company specialised in recycled materials, made me quite a good fit as a working group moderator – someone tasked with shaping discussion amongst a group of colleagues based upon some degree of expertise around circularity of plastics.

It was personally valuable and interesting to hear perspectives from other people viewing things from both similar and quite different positions to myself within the landscape, and to connect with colleagues from other SPIRE projects with whom we hope to build future synergies. The Working Group discussion covered recommendations for overcoming barriers preventing innovation in plastics recycling, management of collection system and plastics waste streams, regulatory processes, how value chain collaborations should be further developed and organized, and incentives to accelerate innovation and concepts like waste separation or recycling by design. Whilst the full discussion reportage will go forward for further development and report back through HARMONI, I was personally very struck by the breadth of coverage represented by the industrial partners involved. Whilst there is still clearly further work to be done, this was a great starting point and gives me the impression there is a good chance of getting comprehensive guideline for the lawmakers to provide a stable legislative framework for the circular economy.

We will be taking these perspectives and more on board and feeding them back into Multicycle’s own policy-related activities, led by the International Solid Waste Association, ISWA, to formulate, curate and disseminate policy recommendations promoting waste management and resource efficiency improvements for our target packaging and automotive applications. Informed by the results of Multicycle’s demonstration activities and life-cycle analysis, the project will be holding an annual stakeholder workshop event over the course of the project to maximize the visibility of the project’s solution in the waste management and recycling fields.

As for SILON, recycling and circularity are key issues for us. Our Fibres division was the first company in Europe to produce polyester staple fibre from PET bottles. Nowadays, recycling has become an active and rich field of operations, but it is not without its challenges. Access to raw material is limited and instantaneous changes in the material are becoming a challenge. We hope that the Circular Plastics Helix provides a good knowledge base for all the parts of the chain, where collaboration can occur rather than competition. As a secondary materials user, we believe our suppliers can grow with us, provided they understand the needs of the extended supply chain. In addition, there should be an interest for the initial user of potentially recyclable material to have the package recycled and enable the recycling process further on. Because we can upgrade polypropylene in our compounding division, we are very receptive to any activity that helps turn waste into regular raw material. We are cooperating with the Czech textile cluster Clutex, where the partners from the ENTeR project give us a good chance to learn about the material from other sources.

To contact Jana Kadlecová, email kadlecovaj@silon.eu or call +420735159548