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UBA research project to validate the use of recyclates

The UBA has put out a call for tenders for a project on the reliable verification of recyclates in plastic products, reports Euwid.

The aim of the Federal Environment Agency's (UBA) research project is to initially record all certification systems for recycled plastics and then analyse and evaluate them. The application deadline for the research project "Analysis and evaluation of certification systems for recycled plastics" is 31 May. The project should be completed by mid-2025.
According to the UBA, it is not possible to determine with sufficient accuracy whether and how much recycled material is contained in a product by analysing it. Alternative testing and verification methods were therefore required to ensure that recycled material is actually used in certain quantities or proportions. As an obvious approach the UBA describes the traceability of the material path from the point at which the utilisation phase of the product ends and the product and the materials it contains become waste . According to the UBA, such traceability is already offered as a service by various organisations. As a result, the client receives a certificate that confirms the recyclability and origin of a material and can be presented as material proof. According to the projects specifications for the UBA project, the issuing of such a certificate by an independent organisation that is "neither interested in the provision of the waste from which the recyclate is obtained, nor in the production or use of the recyclate, nor in the associated economic activities" has greater credibility than if the recyclate content of a product is certified solely by a recyclate producer or a recyclate user. In order to guarantee the reliability of recycled materials and products, the traceability processes and the responsible organisations must also fulfil certain criteria, according to the UBA. For example, the origin of the recycled material had to be traceable in order to determine whether it is "post-consumer" or "post-industrial" waste, with the former taking priority, according to the UBA. Another criterion cited by the UBA is the type of recycling process that the waste undergoes in order to be processed into secondary raw materials. Here, the UBA makes a fundamental distinction between material and raw material/chemical processes and prioritises material processes, as these required significantly less energy than all chemical recycling processes. To minimise the environmental impact, environmental and quality management systems and compliance with environmental standards are also required. In order to ensure that the certificates reflect the actual condition of the companies or processes, the UBA also considers the trustworthiness of the certification systems and the implementing bodies to be particularly important.
Further information: to the tender documents on the federal government's e-tendering platform (in German)

  •, (10.4.2024)
  • Photo: Fotolia

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