Saxion expects global impact through research into recycling plastic

The plastic around your peppers, the plastic in which your chicken fillet is wrapped, the foil around your bouquet of tulips and so on. It is almost enough to make you despondent when you realise that all the plastic waste that people throw away daily adds millions of kilos to the plastic waste mountain.


Fortunately, we have Saxion from Twente, where people are working hard and investigating ways to recycle thin plastics and foils. Researcher Rik Voerman from the Saxion Lightweight Structures department: “Decentralised recycling is key”.

In short

  • Saxion and the business community in Twente have joined forces to optimise the recycling of thin plastics and foils.
  • Twente is investing in research and in solutions to make plastic part of the circular economy with a project called ‘Post-use Plastic Foil Solutions’.

Global Goal

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Next level

Saxion will be focused on optimising three existing initiatives related to recycling plastics in the RAAK-MKB research project in the coming two years. Questions from SME’s are central in this research project. Universities and other knowledge institutions and a minimum of six SMEs join forces in a consortium to research practical solutions to the question. These solutions may be prototypes, a new working method or another applicable result.


The social urgency for this type of research is great, says Voerman: “Around 45 per cent of all household waste consists of thin plastics and foils. A lot of plastic waste from households has been used as packaging for food such as cheese, fruit or rice. This is a major global problem because these plastics are more difficult to recycle than paper, metal and other types of plastic.”


Saxion is working together with the business community in the ‘Post-use Plastic Foil Solutions’ project to take the separation, cleaning and reuse of thin plastics to the next level, both technically and commercially. 

Related article

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Plastic house

The researchers are taking a closer look at the recycling of agricultural plastic for bananas, river plastic (the ‘soup’) and household waste from Almere. Almere is already working hard when it comes to recycling: A house will be built on the Floriade in April, made from recycled household waste plastic. It will have façade panels made from plastic, among other things.

“There is already a small-scale factory in Almere”, says Voerman. “But we are looking for ways to make the processes better, smarter and cleaner. We want to push the boundaries of what is possible through our research.”


“The plastic waste from households in Almere is often dirty, so it needs to be cleaner. The same goes for agricultural plastic, which is often contaminated by pesticides. Bananas are grown without pesticides in Peru and the Dominican Republic, but that is not possible in other countries. We will therefore have to investigate what we need to do to make pesticide-contaminated agricultural plastic clean and safe for recycling.”

Date: 10 February 2022 |

Source of tekst: Saxion |

Author: Maaike Thüss

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