What does a technology centre deliver for the real economy: the AIMPLAS example
AIMPLAS, the Spanish Plastics Technology Centre, helps companies in the sector integrate circular economy criteria into their business models and convert the legislative changes that affect them into opportunities to improve efficiency and profitability and reduce environmental impact. AIMPLAS also does research in areas such as recycling, biodegradable materials and products, and the use of biomass and CO2 with the aim of developing innovative solutions that help solve current environmental challenges.
Circular economy has been a pivotal theme in the technology centre’s activity in 2019, as demonstrated by more than 80 related R&D&I projects - nine of them identified as new lines of research. Of the projects now under way, a total of 13 successful demonstrators emerged and nearly a hundred business opportunities were identified in 2019. AIMPLAS also participated in a total of 28 events on the circular economy and its professionals gave 26 talks on the topic.
In terms of training, 25 courses were taught for a total of 400 hours, and were attended by 255 people from 180 participating companies. In addition, AIMPLAS held 4 workshops on the circular economy, attended by more than 500 people.
In 2019, AIMPLAS also reinforced its capacity to provide technological services on the circular economy, including the creation of a diagnostic service for companies interested in implementing circular economy strategies. In addition, the number of tests certified by ENAC for recycled plastics was increased and an AIMPLAS researcher was accredited by EuCertPlast as an expert auditor to conduct the audits required by recycling companies in order to obtain this certification.
During the same period, AIMPLAS collaborated with 51 associations, platforms, networks and clusters on the circular economy. These collaborative actions included initiatives such as the creation of the EsPlásticos platform, which aims to raise awareness about the sustainable solutions that plastics can provide to meet the challenges of society, and to highlight the great economic, technical, social and environmental advances of these materials.
In addition to these activites, the centre also adhered to a number of circular economy platforms and initiatives:
- Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE)
- Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA) initiative, a statement signed by over a hundred entities and framed within the European Strategy for Plastics that promotes voluntary actions to encourage recycling
- Operation Clean Sweep® (OCS), a global initiative of the sector whose aim is to reduce to zero pellet loss in the environment.