The use of recycled raw materials in the plastics industry has been increasing over the years. The most important reason for this is the environmental perspective and the effort to reduce the carbon footprint of finished products. Although the use of recycled raw materials has generated interest and is encouraged, secondary plastics have gained a foothold only slowly so far due to the uncertain availability of raw materials.
“The typical problem with recycled raw materials has been that the materials on offer are different and inconsistently available. Most of the recycled raw materials we use have so far been obtained from the construction and excavation sectors, because that has been all that has been available, at least in sufficient quantities”, says Sales Manager Ville Mäkinen.
The volumes of available secondary raw materials are expected to grow in the coming years, because consumers are now also being encouraged to collect and recycle plastics. EU has set a goal to have half of all household plastic packaging recycled in the member states by the year 2025. Consumer enthusiasm about plastic recycling is generating new opportunities on the secondary raw material markets.
Fortum Circo: from plastic packaging to recycled plastic
The plastic packaging waste collected from households in Finland is processed at the Fortum plastic refinery in Riihimäki, where the recycled plastic is sorted and refined into small granules. The new secondary plastic raw material goes by the name of Fortum Circo.
“Fortum Circo is a domestic recycled raw material that makes consumer plastic sorting more concrete and tangible. It is great to see how consumers, brand owners, and manufacturers paid more attention to the origin and responsibility of raw materials. The carbon footprint of Fortum Circo is approximately half of the footprint of virgin plastic. It is also a versatile material, and its properties can be customised for specific customer needs depending on the application and production methods”, says Fortum Circo Brand Sales Manager Anniina Rasmus.
“Fortum Circo opens up completely new possibilities, because recycled plastic collected from consumers has not been available at this scale previously. In particular, I count excellent availability and even quality among the advantages of this new raw material. Fortum Circo makes it possible to manufacture completely new products in our blow moulding production using post-consumer plastic packaging waste. We are also looking forward with interest to working together with Fortum on recycled raw materials”, Mäkinen rejoices.
Use of recycled raw materials in the future
Approximately 30% of VMT’s production is currently made using recycled raw materials. It is hoped that this number will grow in the coming years. The production raw material systems have been refurbished to be better suitable for the use of recycled raw materials. Waste materials generated during production are utilised almost fully.
“Customers are interested in using recycled raw materials, and we encourage them to do so. We still make technical plastic components with virgin raw materials, but recycled plastic can be used in the making of many other products. We always work together with the customer to determine if recycled raw materials can be used”, says Mäkinen.
“We want to use plastic wisely and choose the right raw material for the application”, says CEO Marja Mäkinen.