Quality model for recycled plastics (QMRP): An indicator for holistic and consistent quality assessment of recycled plastics using product functionality and material properties
de Simon, L.
van Harmelen, T.
One of the key challenges for plastics in a circular economy is its degradation during use, washing and reprocessing. The reduced quality of recycled plastic waste leads to its use in inferior applications. This study presents a novel quality model which incorporates degradation, degree of mixing and contaminations. The model estimates a single quality value between 0 and 1 based on the mathematical relationship that uses: 1) a list of material properties, 2) minimum and maximum permissible values per property, 3) an ideal or desired value (or range) for the property and 4) relative importance (or weighing) factor (J) for the property. The quality model for recycled plastic (QMRP) was tested for three different real-life scenarios to evaluate the quality of recycled plastic for applications in food packaging film and toys. The results showed the superior prediction of QMRP in comparison to the existing models, in terms of application-based assessment, inclusion of all aspects of quality, credit allocation to upcycling and the use of a Go/No-go criteria. A single value quality indicator is to be applied in correlation studies, application prioritization for product development, managerial decision making and as a substitution ratio for the allocation of avoided products in life cycle assessment (LCA) studies. The QMRP in dicator can be used by the recyclers to assess the quality of its material and strategically position their recycled plastic grades in the market.
Life cycle assessment
To reference this document use:
Environment & Sustainability
Journal of Cleaner Production, 362 (362), 1-14