Following the growing awareness of the environmental impacts from plastic waste, the European Union has introduced a number of initiatives with measures aiming at reducing these negative effects. Among these are the Landfill Directive, the Waste Framework Directive and the Ecodesign Directive. There are also other political initiatives that have influenced the managing of plastic waste, from incinerating the plastic material or sending it to landfills towards recycling


Bitumen is a petroleum-based material used in many applications within the construction sector. The material can for instance be applied as a binding agent in roads or as roofing materials for flat roofs. Despite the present awareness in the use of natural resources, especially of fossil origin, bitumen is not widely recycled yet. In many countries a more common method of getting rid of the material is incineration or landfilling, mostly due to a lack of alternative damage-reducing techniques


In 2010, 10.4 million tonnes of plastic waste were put on landfills in EU member states, but there were only a few damage-reducing techniques available to decrease this quantity. Recycling of plastics is one way of altering the material flow and an important element in municipal solid waste treatment, also applicable to waste from industry, craftsmen or commercial actors. After collecting and sorting the plastic waste, separating and recycling the different types of plastic will typically result in the production of new plastic products. 


Old tyres follow the general EU hierarchy for waste, where the least favoured option is disposal, followed by energy recovery. More preferable is recycling, reusing and reducing the waste and the best option is prevention. However, statistics show that the reality of old tyres doesn’t follow the preferred solution. In the EU, we are currently using approximately 50 % of the collected old tyres as a substitution to other materials in roads, football fields and top layers of landfills; incinerating or disposing the other 50 %. Putting recycled rubber from tyres to use in other products instead of producing new rubber has proven to be 45 times more carbon-efficient. Thus, a widely-used method for recycling the rubber from the more than 3 million old tyres that are generated in the EU every year would not only give a more sustainable management of rubber, it would also have a positive impact on the climate. 


The technology that has been developed within the CAPS project (funded under CIP programme, a grant funding programme) should allow the paper industry to value its waste, particularly in the field of paper mill sludge disposal and recovering. The increasing demand for a more sustainable absorbent and for an appropriate treatment of papermill sludge within papermills, has led the project’s partners to develop an innovative physical separating process in order to convert the paper mill sludge into an efficient absorbent material.