Optimizing circularity through digital support
About the project
Cyclops aims to optimize the circularity of secondary plastic material through the implementation of a digital support system. Recyclable plastic waste will be given a second life, turning it into a valuable product over again.
In short, Cyclops will:
- Create a free, open-source platform (either integrated in online plastic marketplaces or as a standalone tool) to enable stakeholders in the plastic industry to make the most economically viable and environmentally friendly decisions for the use of secondary plastics, and for the recycling of plastic waste as well.
Plastics are among the few materials for which future use is forecast to grow substantially (Enkvist & Kevnas, 2018) and parallel to that will be the volume of plastic waste. The potential of plastic recycling and reuse of recyclates is still little exploited in practice, so that avoidable environmental pollution occurs and opportunities for resource conservation are not seized. Economically, non-implemented recycling means a loss of valuable material while ecologically, the incineration of plastic waste releases large quantities of CO2 and other harmful gasses into the air. The reuse of recyclates, on the other hand, promises to save additional fossil resources, since it can replace newly produced plastics. That’s why Cyclops is developing a tool for the economic and environmental assessments of plastic recyclate for a user specific product demand, to enable more effective recycling and higher recycling rates.
CYCLOPS will provide a platform for plastics waste producers and converters to identify technically, economically and environmentally viable uses for plastic waste and recyclates available on the market and to make purchasing, recycling and marketing decisions based on given assessments. The digital system developed in the project comprises a tool, for live life cycle and carbon footprint assessments based on user-specific input. The Cyclops tool will primarily include:
- An economic assessment of plastic waste and its application in its second life
- An environmental assessment of recycling and transportation activities for recyclable material, over the life cycle
- A forecast of availability of materials
GreenDelta in the project
GreenDelta is developing the web tool that integrates the work of all partners in a coherent way, which will also ensure fast result calculations in a many-user environment. The tool will include the infrastructure for the digital twin of a plastic material which was carried out in openLCA as an LCA model, an economic assessment tool that considers economies of scale and material properties, as well as the environmental assessments for specific recycling and production machinery settings. Provided assessment of the material will reflect specific inputs of each user, providing a calculation on the economic viability of recyclable plastic waste and the specific ecological performance of a recycled material compared to its virgin counterpart.
The project is a cooperation between the SKZ, GreenDelta, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy as well as cirplus.
Links and resources
Project duration: June 2021 – August 2023