Outlook for 2023: BKV project to prevent pellet losses
As part of its focus on "Plastics in the Environment", the BKV intends in 2023 to continue working on the topic of pellet losses. In doing so, the BKV will follow on from its "Special report on pellet losses", which was published in 2022 and presents for the first time a volume-related estimate of the pellets discharged into the environment in Germany. The findings are now to be deepened and extended in cooperation with the plastics value chain, including the recyclers. The aim is to derive measures from this that the companies can apply and implement in order to prevent pellets being discharged into the environment. To support this, the findings are also to be made usable for national and European standardisation work.
The quantification of pellet losses is still a big challenge. In 2022, the BKV presented a "Special report on pellet losses", providing for the first time an estimate of the volume of pellet losses in Germany. As a result, this report provides a data model for Germany for the year 2020 that shows clearly where pellets are released and which of the discharges into the environment during handling of the pellets are particularly relevant (see "Plastics in the Environment: A close look at pellet losses"). The study thus makes a contribution towards identifying deficits and deriving corresponding measures so that the discharge of pellets into the environment is in future minimised or prevented altogether. After all, the findings relating to where and what quantities are potentially discharged make it easier to take efficient countermeasures. With this in mind, the intention is this year to continue and intensify the dialogue with the players in the plastics value chain, including the recyclers. Industry initiatives such as "Zero Granule Losses", "Zero Pellet Losses" and "Operation Clean Sweep" are important pilot projects for preventing the discharge of plastics into the environment. Through this exchange, the results of the "Special report on pellet losses" will be combined with findings and practical experience from these initiatives in order to derive the requirements for reduction measures. In particular, all the available information is also to be made accessible to the companies in the plastics recycling industry. In a subsequent step, the results of this dialogue will then also be incorporated into the standardisation work, both at German and at European level.
Of particular interest here will be the findings from the practical application of "Operation Clean Sweep®" (OCS), an international programme launched by plastics producers that aims to avoid losses of plastic granules, flakes and powder, and to ensure that these materials do not get into the environment. From February 2023, Plastics Europe, the association of plastics producers in Europe, and EuPC, the association of European plastics converters, launched the first European certification system for OCS. This system will enable measures for minimising or preventing granule losses in the entire plastics supply chain to be certified by external auditing. "The defined minimum requirements are to be regularly checked by accredited certification centres. Apart from that, the certified companies will be listed in a public online register, and a report will be drawn up annually on the development of the certification, including estimates of the pellet losses and performance indicators," say the European associations.
Your contact for this topic is Stephanie Cieplik
- Plastics in the environment: Special Report "Pellet losses" (Conversio, August 2022)
- Pressrelease Plastics Europe (Jan. 26, 2023)
- Photo: Plastics Europe