The Value Chain

Waste created by consumers (municipal waste) is collected through collection schemes. After the waste, including plastics, has been collected, it is processed by waste separators. At their facilities, the consumer waste is separated into a number of fractions. Here, the plastics are commonly separated into PE, PET, PP and a rest fraction, of which each fraction is pressed and wrapped into bale form. In the European Union, waste separators get paid per metric ton of separated plastic waste that meets quality requirements specified in a norm (the DKR norm). Meanwhile, these waste separators charge their clients, mechanical recyclers, for the purchase of that same separated plastic waste. These mechanical recyclers process the bales of plastic, and often conduct their own set of separation- and washing processes in order to increase the purity – and quality – of their incoming material. The plastic flakes are then compounded, extruded and pelletized by mechanical recyclers, resulting in the creation of a secondary raw material: regranulate. Finally, the regranulate is used by plastic processing companies as raw material for the production of new products, thereby restarting the cycle of a product’s life.