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Resource-effective and circular plastics flows – The role of Plastic in a circular society

From waste to resource-efficient material. IVA’s report presents proposals for how plastic as a material can be produced, used and recycled in a more circular way.

Between the end of 2019 and spring 2020, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) is publishing far-reaching action plans for increased resource effectiveness in five resource-intensive areas: plastics mobility, textiles, facilities and food. Now a new report is being released focusing on how plastics can be more circular and resource-smart.

“Plastics fill a number of important functions in society. If we’re not going to make dashboards in cars, vacuum cleaners and medical equipment from plastic, what material should we use? And would this be more resource-efficient?” says Magnus Huss, Director General and Vice President, Innovation and Chemical Industries in Sweden (IKEM) and Chair for the IVA report.

IVA highlights the following requirements in order to make the sector more sustainable:

  • Create better conditions in the recycled plastics market. Actors in plastics recycling have so far demonstrated a higher level of ambition than users. This can be addressed by building confidence in the use of recycled plastics.
  • The Government needs to highlight the clear responsibility of the public sector with respect to plastics and form a commission to develop a Swedish plastic strategy with goals, technology and R&D proposals that include resource efficiency.

  • An agenda should be produced aimed at identifying opportunities and obstacles for chemical recycling of plastics and textiles in Sweden.

These conclusions were drawn within the IVA project Resource Effectiveness and the Circular Economy, the purpose of which has been to make Sweden more competitive in a future with finite resources in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The project has established platforms for dialogue between actors in the public and private sectors and academia, who have produced proposals in various areas. The report author is Peter Stigson, PE Teknik & Arkitektur.

“The project’s vision is for Sweden to be the leading nation as a resource-effective, circular society,” says Caroline Ankarcrona, Project Manager at IVA.

Resource-effective and circular plastics flows