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Pöyry launches PlasticsToBio concept aiming to solve the global plastics problem

By Gerald Ondrey |

Pöyry Oyj (Helsinki, Finland; www.poyry.com) has developed a PlasticsToBio concept and initiative to address the global plastics problem, providing an affordable and economically viable concept to decouple plastics from fossil based materials and turn all plastics bio-based. The concept looks at the whole value chain all the way from material suppliers to consumers, and demonstrates that there is a lucrative business case in replacing fossil plastics with bio-based plastics.

“Societies, companies and consumers recognize the magnitude of the plastics problem. Solutions to replace fossil plastics, including recycling, are in constant development, but so far there has not been a systemic concept to drive decoupling plastics from fossil based materials. Neither has increasing plastics recycling in a large enough scale been developed so far, and in an affordable, economically viable and sustainable manner. Pöyry’s PlasticsToBio concept shows that within just ten years, most fossil based plastics could be replaced with bio-based materials,” says Tomi Nyman, principal, Pöyry’s Management Consulting Business Group.

The concept is based on two key areas: a substantial increase in recycling, and the gradual replacing of fossil feedstock with bio-based feedstock in plastics production.

An important tool in this implementation is developing a global deposit scheme for plastics collection and recycling. Similar schemes are already in use in various countries either on national or retail chain level. A partnership and value chain are set up between the retailers and recyclers in such a way, that when a consumer buys a product from a store, a deposit value of, for example $0.1, is charged by the cashier to the consumer for the packaging. When returning the used packaging to the shop, the consumer receives the deposit value back either directly, or as a receipt which indicates the deposited value. This amount of money can then be discounted from the next purchase in the same store. The returned plastic packaging is then regularly collected, transported and sorted for recycling and material reuse.

Plastics should feature an icon which states indicatively the deposit value for packaging, for example, as 0.1 or 0.2 units per piece in the relevant currency, or alternatively, show a value per kilogram.

“There are, naturally, investments needed to make this change happen. For example, we will need recycling sites, waste management and new infrastructure for collection, sorting and logistics. Pöyry’s concept shows that the investments needed to introduce this scheme and eventually use just bio-based plastics will become cheaper than sourcing crude oil today to produce fossil-based plastics,” Nyman summarises.

The plastics production is set to grow from 400 million tons today to 1 billion tons in just 30 years if no measures are taken to address the plastics problem.

Pöyry is ready to start solving the world’s plastics problem and help companies harness the value of recycled plastics and bio-based feedstock.

 

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