Around 25 million tonnes of plastic waste are produced each year and recycling does not even reach a third of it and reducing its production and use is a long-term action. The revaluation of plastics offers a third way to tackle the plastic waste challenge with lower CO2 emissions than recycling. Revaluation considers plastic waste as an asset, which can be capitalized through creativity and invention capacity, i.e., not only using plastic waste discarded products (or its parts) in a new product with a different function (called repurpose) but creates added value through a new product or feature that can be monetized. In this setting, SMEs are key for a circular economy transformation and turn their plastic waste into value.
The trends not only in regulations, mentioned before, but also the more environmentally conscious behaviour of consumers, creates a perfect breeding ground for those SMEs that are able to seize the opportunities this offers. Those with a solid circularity approach stand to gain. The way an SME manages its waste is part of the equation and being able to go beyond mere recycling and actually create value from waste, can give them a competitive edge. However, SMEs and in particular the smaller ones, do not have the in-house knowledge, experts, or resources of larger companies, nor can they afford on many occasions the costs of external consultancy.
PlasticValue fills the aforementioned challenges and gaps, with the final goal of preparing current and future professionals in particular those in innovation, production or transformation related areas, for making the turn-around, revalue their plastic waste (using co-creation & co-design approaches) and take full advantage of the opportunities it offers. As such, the project focuses not only on assisting the SMEs to become more circular, but also on offering VET bodies an updated learning programme which addresses circular economy challenges. We focus on professionals active in innovation, production and transformation-related areas, but also consider SME managers for a greater impact.