LIFE AGANFOILS - Upcycling post-consumer film from dirty Mechanical Recycling Facilities (MRFs)

LIFE15 ENV/NL/000429

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Contact details:

Contact person: Willy PEEKS
Tel: 31885501026
Email: willy.peeks@attero.nl

Project description:


In 2012, just 25.2 million tonnes of post-consumer waste plastic in Europe ended up in the waste stream. Despite improved plastic waste prevention, preparation for re-use, recycling and separate plastic waste collection, as well as improving plastic design and plastic product design, only around a quarter of all waste plastic was recycled in 2013. As a result, the European Commission has recently amended several waste-related EU directives. Higher targets have been set for the recycling of different waste streams and materials, including significantly higher recycling targets for plastic packaging waste (45% by 2020 and 60% by 2025). Moreover, the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe states the goal of “improving waste management by making better use of resources”.

In the context of a Resource Efficient Europe, increasing the re-use and recycling of materials is considered a high priority for realising the vision of a circular economy within the EU. The project will address the environmental problem and contribute to a more resource efficient Europe by introducing a new plastic recycling technology that enables plastic waste to be used as a resource instead of being sent to landfill or incinerated. Post-consumer LDPE (low-density polyethylene) plastic foils recovered from municipal solid waste are considered difficult to recycle. This plastic waste usually has a high level of contamination with dirt, organic material and adhesives, etc. It must therefore undergo intensive treatment (grinding, washing and drying) during the recycling process.

As a result, in most countries, LDPE plastic waste is currently either incinerated for energy recovery or landfilled. Only a small amount of LDPE is recycled and the current state-of-the-art recycling processes do not sufficiently reduce the contamination level adversely affecting the quality of the recycled granulates. The re-granulate does not reach the quality of virgin material and can only be used for low-quality applications.


The LIFE AGANFOILS project aims to demonstrate a new upcycling process for LDPE plastic waste. The project contributes to the goal of Circular Economy in Europe of achieving a 75% recycling rate for packaging waste by 2030. The project furthermore foresees a smart collection scheme that diverts LDPE away from landfills and incineration to recycling. The project also aims to demonstrate a recycling installation at which post-consumer LDPE foils from dirty Materials Recycling Facilities (MRF) are upcycled to ‘as-good-as-new plastic’.

The innovative process will result in a higher quality odourless re-granulate. This re-granulate reduces the need for virgin plastic and improves resource efficiency by turning a waste product into a resource. For the first time an integrated, full-industrial scale, waste-to-resource recycling facility will be demonstrated on one location for plastic waste foil. By eliminating transportation needs, the facility will enable low-cost upcycling at a significantly lower environmental impact. It is largely a closed looped process in which used process water is treated and reused, maximising resource efficiency.

Furthermore, by introducing an innovative hot washing stage to the plastic foil recycling process a higher quality end-product and higher yield can be achieved compared to current plastic foil recycling facilities.

The project objectives are to:

  • Demonstrate that post-consumer LDPE foils can be efficiently recycled to produce a high-quality plastic re-granulate in a sustainable and economic way;
  • Demonstrate an integrated, full-industrial scale, waste-to-resource plastic recycling process by using state-of-the-art equipment in a smart sequence and combining the recycling stage in an existing MRF;
  • Reduce the environmental impact of the plastic recycling process through the efficient use of available residual energy and water streams; and
  • Disseminate all project results to relevant stakeholders in order to raise awareness and support market acceptance of the demonstrated AGANFOILS process and its benefits.
  • Expected results:

  • The AGANFOILS demonstration process tested, commissioned and fully functioning;
  • Implementation of an integrated, full-scale, innovative recycling process for LDPE plastic waste foils at Attero plant in Wijster;
  • Recycling of around 9 000 tonnes of plastic foil waste, leading to about 5 900 tonnes of high-quality plastic re-granulate (75% of plant capacity), over a one-year period;
  • Definition of project indicators from a technical and environmental point of view and their monitoring during the project’s lifetime;
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions by up to 555 tonnes (owing to the LDPE plastic waste not being transported from The Netherlands to Germany). Using waste heat and renewable energy coming from the waste-to-energy facility will also lower carbon emissions;
  • Assessment of the socio-economic impact of the project actions on the local economy and population; and
  • A market analysis to evaluate the replication potential and transferability of the demonstrated technique.



Environmental issues addressed:


Industry-Production - Plastic - Rubber -Tyre
Waste - Waste recycling
Waste - Municipal waste (including household and commercial)


clean technology‚  waste use‚  waste recycling‚  plastic‚  municipal waste‚  resource conservation

Target EU Legislation

  • Waste
  • Directive 1999/31 - Landfill of waste (26.04.1999)
  • Directive 2008/98 - Waste and repealing certain Directives (Waste Framework Directive) (19.11.200 ...
  • COM(2015)614 - "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy" (02.12.2015)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Attero B.V.
Type of organisation Large enterprise
Description Attero B.V. (formerly Essent Environment), a Dutch waste management company, was established in 2010. Attero focuses on the large-scale processing of domestic waste, organic waste, mineral and commercial waste. The company processes about 3.3 million tonnes of waste per year, a figure that includes the waste of more than a third of all Dutch households. Attero focuses on the recovery of reusable materials and their conversion into renewable energy and useful products. The company operates out of 15 locations across the Netherlands (waste incineration plants, composting plants, bio-gas plants, waste sorting plants).
Partners None


Project reference LIFE15 ENV/NL/000429
Duration 01-JUL-2016 to 30-JUN -2019
Total budget 13,029,578.00 €
EU contribution 3,021,554.00 €
Project location Drenthe(Nederland)


Read more:

Project web site Project's webpage


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version