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Plastic construction materials in the cycle

KUBA - the pilot project for the efficient recycling of plastics used in buildings has been completed.

The aim of the KUBA joint project - "Sustainable plastics value chain: pilot case of plastics in the construction industry and buildings" - was to develop a concept for the sustainable use of plastics from the construction sector and for the circularity of a significant proportion of the carbon in construction plastics. The pilot project was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) from Dec. 1, 2018, to Oct. 31, 2020.

The project partners (see below) examined the entire value chain section by section and arrived at an estimated total volume of plastics currently used in buildings and infrastructure in Germany of around 70 million metric tons. These would be mainly PVC and PE plastics. The annual volume of waste is estimated at around 0.5 million tons, of which around 30 percent were collected separately. A number of systems, which were engraved by the downstream recycling process, were making the separate collection, with integration into higher-level systems and the use of information and communication technologies in need of improvement, he said. For the growing waste volume of insulation materials, which have so far been recovered as energy due to the material combination and ingredients such as flame retardants, a recycling route, a combination of chemical recycling (pyrolysis) and mechanical recycling, could be identified within the framework of KUBA.

The consortium sees a need for further research, among other things, in optimizing the interface between mechanical processing and chemical recycling, and in scaling up pyrolysis processes in particular - also for other types of plastic waste from deconstruction, such as polyurethane-based insulation materials.

The KUBA pilot project was coordinated by DECHEMA Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie e.V.. Collaborative partners were Münster University of Applied Sciences, the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), RWTH Aachen University and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy gGmbH. In addition, eleven representatives of industry and relevant associations were involved in the pilot project as associated partners: Arbeitsgemeinschaft PVC und UMWELT e.V., BASF SE, BKV GmbH, Bundesverband Sekundärrohstoffe und Entsorgung e.V., Covestro Deutschland AG, Deutsche Bauchemie e.V., INEOS Styrolution Group GmbH, PlasticsEurope Deutschland e.V., Sto SE & Co. KGaA, PreZero Kunststoffrecycling GmbH & Co. KG and the German Chemical Industry Association.


  • DECHEMA (JAN. 14, 2020)
  • Photo: @ Pixabay / Hans Braxmeier