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Two circular initiatives are starting in Eemshaven, Groningen in the Netherlands. In one of the pilots, together with Bek & Verburg and Groningen Seaports, Impact Recycling is looking at techniques whereby plastic (fishing) nets from all over the Netherlands can be converted in Eemshaven into the high-grade raw materials polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE). Uppact will use an innovative technology to process the non-recyclable plastic and textile waste stream into a new material and into robust and recyclable new products, according to the press release from Groningen Seaports.

“Waste has been a product in the past, and we want to make sure it becomes a new product again. Through these two initiatives, we can raise our current recycling rate of 93 percent to a whole new level,” Bek & Verburg said in the press release. Groningen Seaports is also pleased with these circular pilot projects. CEO Cas K√∂nig commented: “We are delighted that these parties want to bring their international and innovative techniques to our port. Ambitious start-ups and scale-ups are very important for the economic development of an area. It’s also good to see that a party like Bek & Verburg is receptive to this.”

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Furniture, baby bottles and lunch boxes

The pilot machine for Impact Recycling recently arrived in Eemshaven from the United Kingdom. This machine is now being installed in Bek & Verburg’s warehouse. Using the so-called innovative BOSS technique, the machine is capable of recycling plastic (fishing)net material into raw materials. These can be used for e.g., plastic furniture, baby bottles, lunch boxes and drinking cups, toys, car parts and jerry cans. This process will be tested in the Eemshaven over the coming period. Impact Recycling is also trying to forge new ties with other parties in the circular chain. Any waste that is not suitable for Impact Recycling, as well as two other residual waste streams, will be sent to other sustainable partners to be used, for example, as crates for flower bulbs or to make circular furniture.

Residual waste streams from hospitals

Uppact is also currently building a test and demonstration facility in the Bek & Verburg warehouse. Their Australian pilot machine (‘UnWastor’) recently arrived in Eemshaven. Over the next few months a variety of waste plastic and textile streams will be tested with this machine. The work is mainly done with waste from the local region. Uppact is acquiring this regional waste by working together with the Wadden Association, the Jutfabriek Terschelling, NHL Stenden and Bek & Verburg, among others. There is also collaboration with the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and other hospitals to grant residual streams from hospitals a second life. Ultimately, the aim is to make all non-recyclable plastic and textile waste in the Netherlands (and beyond) circular on a regional basis.

The first two large processing plants are planned for 2023, the first of which will be located in Eemshaven with a planned capacity of 15,000 tonnes per year.

Also interesting: Digital process for sorting plastic films could increase recycling rates significantly


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