Page 20 - HUB-4 Magazine Issue 82
P. 20

  MRF’s & Recycling News
EnEWA research project aims to unlock
the untapped potential of recyclable paper
in mixed waste
STADLER, the globally active German company specialized in the planning, production and assembly of turnkey recycling and sorting plants, is participating in the groundbreaking EnEWA research project to obtain recyclable paper from the lightweight packaging, residual waste and commercial waste streams.
The world produces and consumes vast amounts of paper for a wide variety of uses. However, while the paper industry has made significant strides in increasing the sustainability of its production by increasing the recycled content of its products, there is much room for improvement. In fact, a smaller portion of paper produced than might be expected is recovered for recycling, despite separate waste collection being widespread. For example, in Germany, as much as 20% of the paper produced is not returned into the recycling value stream – and a part of this paper is discarded in mixed waste streams.
European Paper Recycling award Paper Packaging Day22
   Annika Ludes
“Regulations mandating the minimum content of recycled material in new paper products will require a significant increase in recovered paper for recycling. Even if we were to recycle all the paper collected separately with the existing process, there would not be enough to meet these targets,” explains Annika Ludes, Product Engineer at STADLER. An award- winning research initiative, the
EnEWA project, is looking at a solution to fill the gap by unlocking the untapped potential of obtaining recyclable paper from the lightweight packaging, residual waste and commercial waste streams. While the project analysis is based on the paper from mixed waste streams as they are collected in Germany, the solution it is developing will be applicable, with some adaptations, to local situation in other countries. The project kicked off in December 2021 and is due to be completed in November 2024.
“Participating in the EnEWA project is important for us at STADLER. Research projects such as this help us in our search for ways to support the recycling industry as we evolve towards a circular economy,” adds Annika Ludes. “We want to drive change, build these plants to expand the sources of secondary fibers for the paper industry. We also want to work with packaging producers to design packaging that is better for recycling.”
EnEWA project: recovering paper from mixed waste streams
The members of the EnEWA project – Universität Siegen, RWTH Aachen University, LEIPA Group, PROPAKMA, TOMRA and STADLER – are developing a solution for recovering and recycling paper from the lightweight packaging, residual waste and commercial waste streams. They have set clear objectives: increase recycling rates in paper production and reduce primary energy requirements and CO2 emissions. The goal is to achieve an overall recovered paper return rate of 90% -
Sampling in hand sorting cabin EnEWA
including both separate paper collection and special collection systems, which today have a 78% return rate, and the residual, commercial and lightweight packaging streams from which barely a small part of paper is currently recovered.
The project is also looking at what can be done to create the conditions for maximizing the amount of paper returned to the recycling loop. This includes discussions with German and EU regulatory authorities with recommendations for updating waste management guidelines to improve the waste streams feeding the sorting process; communication campaigns aimed at raising awareness among consumers about the correct separation of their household waste; and collaboration with producers for the design of packaging that is better for recycling.
The task for STADLER in the project is to provide, in collaboration with TOMRA Recycling, technical solutions to extract paper from the mixed streams and sort it into different paper qualities for recycling. Alena Spies, M.Sc., Research associate at the Chair of Anthropogenic Material Cycles of RWTH Aachen University, comments: “STADLER brings its great experience in waste processing technology and plant engineering, which are of great importance for the holistic consideration of material cycles and the development of recycling processes on an industrial scale towards a circular
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