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Neutroplast wants to reach the goal of «zero waste» and counts on INEGI to create circular industrial processes

04 January 2022
"Zero waste”. This is the goal established by Neutroplast, which currently generates around 175 tons of production surpluses and non-conformities per year, but intends to rethink its production strategy in order to create more circular processes and eliminate the generation of "waste".

The objective is to recover, reintegrate and recycle plastic industrial waste – transforming it into secondary raw materials – in pharmaceutical packaging production lines, thus reducing the unsustainable consumption of natural resources and virgin raw materials.

This transition from the current economic model has unavoidable technological and scientific challenges, for which the company counts on INEGI to make this vision a reality, and to design and implement a laboratory pilot line. Therefore, the Institute's specialists are responsible for supporting the implementation of new processes and the development of new materials and formulations (compounds) generated through primary and/or secondary mechanical recycling.

As explained by Raquel Santos, responsible for the project at INEGI, the great challenge of the project is to create "innovative and sustainable methodologies that allow to boost the use of recycled materials in the production of packaging for the pharmaceutical industry, without compromising its functionality".

The team has, therefore, given special attention "to the quality, performance and specifications provided for in this extremely demanding sector", and the possibility of integrating these materials in the food and cosmetics industry is also being considered.

This partnership comes within the scope of the RREDUCE project, which brings together Neutroplast and INEGI to face the challenges related to the valorization of «plastic waste» generated in the transformation, consumption and disposal of single-use packaging. An effort considered a priority by the European Commission, and registered in the Action Plan for the Circular Economy (PAEC), within the scope of the path towards the circular economy. It is intended to demonstrate through this project that if the recycling of pharmaceutical grade plastics in the production of new packaging is a reality, then there is a panoply of opportunities for other sectors of the plastics manufacturing industry.

In addition to the sustainable management of these resources at the Neutroplast factory, the project also includes the promotion of a waste sharing network between companies. "In a more informal language or in slang, it is usually said that the rubbish of some people is the gold of others. Therefore, industrial symbiosis, the transfer and sharing of resources and knowledge between different industrial actors is essential to change perceptions. from waste to resources and identify new opportunities to create value”, adds Raquel Santos.

The RREDUCE project: Reuse and Recycling in an Integrated Circular Process is co-financed by the European Union through COMPETE 2020, under the Incentive System for Research and Technological Development.
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