Conference Paper

Barriers and enablers for the uptake of recycled plastic feedstock

Authors:
  • Windesheim University of Applied Sciences
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Abstract

Circularity and recycling are gaining increased attention, yet the amount of recycled plastic applied in new products remains low. To accelerate uptake by businesses, it will be useful to empirically investigate the main barriers and enablers that organisations experience when using recycled plastic feedstock for the production of new plastic products. In this research, categorisation is threefold: determining whether a certain factor acts as a barrier, enabler or both; identifying the steps in the value chain which the factor directly affects; and a categorisation in regulatory, economic, technical, systemic, organisational and cultural factors. Results from the focus group sessions show that main barriers seem to be: lack of clear policies and (stimulating) regulations, price differences between virgin and recycle materials, lower material quality and uncertainties about quality, availability and reliable stream of recyclate (from sufficient quality), lack of short-term organisational goals, lack of knowledge, and lack of consumer demand and willingness. Comparing the results from a micro- and meso scale perspective, some factors are more important for certain steps in the value chain but may also (indirectly) influence the activities of others. Other factors affect all steps of the value chain. Moreover, the relevance of a factor may differ per actor depending on its positioning in the value chain and context, which comes along with uncertainties in industry. Further research may focus on extending literature review and address the needs of industry in order to increase uptake of recycled feedstock in new products.

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