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WORKSHOP #8: EREK held its eighth workshop in Katowice - Making recycling of packaging waste a profitable business for SMEs

Posted on: 03.04.2019
by The Erek Team

EREK’s eighth workshop titled ‘Making recycling of packaging waste a profitable business for SMEs’ took place on 26 March 2019 in Katowice, Poland. Designated as an EU Industry Days event, it was hosted by the Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas in cooperation with the Waste Management and Recycling Cluster – Polish National Key Cluster.

The objectives of the workshop were twofold: on the one hand, it aimed at presenting the key issues SMEs involved in packaging waste management faced when they try to become more resource efficient. On the other hand, it looked at the system of waste management as a whole, taking into account economic feasibility, technical viability, market drivers and the current and upcoming EU and Polish regulatory framework. 54 participants attended the workshop and it was mainly composed of companies dealing with collection, sorting and processing of packaging waste, technology providers and branch organisations.

Paolo Canfora, from the Joint Research Centre said that Polish SMEs and local/regional authorities could benefit from improved solid waste management. He also presented a number of best practices from the Green Best Practice Community for Municipal Waste Management platform. These included specific technologies, measures and actions whose technical feasibility and economic viability have been demonstrated. Similarly, EREK’s self- assessment tool (SAT) not only allows the SMEs to assess their resource efficiency performance, but it is also linked with the EREK database. The database has more than 470 fiches with good practices, technologies and measures from real European companies that can help other companies to improve their performance. Both tools were presented to the participants. In addition, the workshop provided an opportunity for individual coaching sessions to participants interested in trying the SAT.

Finally, new technological solutions for packaging waste recycling were presented. Polish SME Eco-Tech system, for instance, presented the Motivational Waste Economy System, which uses ICT for optimizing collection methods. It aims at increasing the amount of clean and segregated packaging waste to be directly delivered to the recycling industry. The system also provides residents with an innovative, motivational and ecological way of segregating waste "at source", changing behaviors and habits. TOMRA Sorting shared their expertise in solutions that improve waste sorting efficiency, presenting new technologies of sorting PET bottles from PET trays. K&K Recycling presenting both the production of machines and the efficient lines for recycling of plastics.

The participants also had an opportunity to discuss the issues and challenges of plastics recycling with the recyclers themselves.