LIFE PEPPCYCLE - Demonstration of a closed loop recycling process for HDPE, preparing EU replications, and transferring to PP recycling

LIFE17 ENV/DE/000450

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Contact details:

Contact person: Michael HEYDE
Email: michael.heyde@gruener-punkt.de

Project description:


Global production of plastic amounted to 322 million tonnes in 2015, with European demand of 49 million tonnes. At the end of the use phase, 40% of plastic is incinerated, 30% goes to landfill and just 30% is recycled. Over the last 10 years, the incineration rate has been increasing and the percentage going to landfill has declined, although there are big disparities between EU Member States. Over 40% of plastic is used in packaging, its most common use. However, only 40% of that packaging is recycled, mainly containers and bottles made from polypropylene (PP) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Improvements in sorting technology could help increase the recycling rate.


LIFE PEPPCYCLE will establish two large-scale lines for sorting and recycling HDPE and PP from mixed waste streams. The recovered material will be processed into high-quality recyclates, which can be used for the consumer goods market. The HDPE line will be built first and lessons from its operation will be used to optimize the subsequent polypropylene line. The odour, colour purity and other properties of the recyclates will be compared to virgin plastic. The project intends to demonstrate that 100% substitution for virgin materials is possible, whilst making significant savings in energy and carbon dioxide emissions. It will carry out a lifecycle assessment of the environmental impact of three products (one HDPE, one PP and a consumer product made of compounds). The project will be implemented in Germany but preparations for market uptake and replication in other EU countries are planned. This will involve drafting a business plan and exploring potential markets.

This project supports the implementation of the EU plastics strategy and the Circular Economy Action Plan, and contributes to achieving climate policy goals by 2030.

Expected results:

  • Production of high-quality recyclates and compounds to replace virgin material in consumer goods applications and packaging materials;
  • Demonstration of the HDPE process at a recycling rate of 70% of the input capacity with a maximum output capacity of 36 000 tonnes per year by the end of the project;
  • Validation of estimated process energy-saving potential of 32% and CO2 saving potential of 20% for a HDPE product made of 100% recyclates compared to virgin material;
  • Reduction of GHG emissions from the process by 12 899 t CO2eq compared to virgin HDPE production;
  • Reduction of fossil feedstock energy use by 1 700 TJ/year compared to virgin HDPE production;
  • Reduction of fuel energy use by 396 TJ/year compared to virgin HDPE production;
  • Reductionof air pollutants and overall environmental footprint across the value chain based on the “cradle to gate” LCA approach;
  • Landfill, incineration and downgrading of at least 50 000 tonnes of plastic waste avoided (corresponding to the input needed for 36 000 tonnes output);
  • Achievement of highest product quality of recyclate: translucent/bright colour, low/no odour;
  • Technology transfer to polypropylene at a capacity of 8 900 tonnes per year in 2020;
  • To demonstrate the production of compounds at a capacity of 8 900 tonnes per year in 2022;
  • The development of upscaling, replication and transferability scenarios for the waste and recycling industry;
  • The implementation of broad dissemination actions, involving a wide stakeholder community;
  • First market replications immediately after the project; and
  • High-performance, user specific material that can open up new markets and added value due to compounding integration.

  • Results

    Results to be published at the end of the project


Environmental issues addressed:


Waste - Packaging and plastic waste


energy saving‚  waste recycling‚  plastic waste‚  plastic‚  raw material consumption‚  life-cycle management‚  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)
  • COM(2014)398 - "Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe" (02.07.2014)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator DSD
Type of organisation International enterprise
Description Der Grüne Punkt (‘Green Dot’) provides take-back systems for manufacturers and retailers, who are required under the German Packaging Ordinance to take back and recycle any packaging they put into circulation. Der Grüne Punkt is a founding member of the European umbrella organisation for take-back systems, PRO Europe. It is a daughter company of DSD – Duales System Holding.
Partners Systec Plastics GmbH, Germany


Project reference LIFE17 ENV/DE/000450
Duration 01-MAY-2019 to 31-AUG -2022
Total budget 22,061,121.00 €
EU contribution 4,068,845.00 €
Project location Nordrhein-Westfalen(Deutschland)


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