Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV)
Presentation of the Institute
The IKV – Institute for Plastics Processing is Europe's leading research institute in the field of plastics technology. Following a holistic approach IKV develops solutions for future-oriented technologies in plastics processing. Today, 300 people are employed at IKV, including 80 scientists, 50 administration staff, and 180 student assistants in research and development. Their goal is to provide industry with problem solutions for their day-to-day operations.
"Circular Economy places particularly tough demands on plastics. Issues such as quality fluctuations, availability and process efficiencies are not entirely new, but they take on much greater dimensions when it comes to recycling. This can only be solved in cooperative networks."
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Rainer Dahlmann
Driven by environmental and socio-political developments, the topic of recycling plastics is receiving a lot of attention. The problem is that the largely linear value chains - especially for short-lived plastic products such as packaging - do not ensure that the plastic is consistently recycled appropriately at the end of the chain. As a result, considerable amounts of plastic waste are (merely) sent for energy recovery or exported abroad.
The goal of the EU and the still young German Packaging Act is to drastically increase the recycling share of plastics. There are very specific quantitative targets for this. On the one hand, an enormous increase in recycling capacities is necessary. On the other hand - apart from economic problems - technological innovations will be indispensable for achieving the goals:
- in the selection of materials,
- in the use of new renewable resources,
- in the avoidance of material composites or
- in the development of soluble material composites,
- in the design of products, especially packaging,
- in the further development of sorting technology,
- in processing technology, etc.
The IKV has been working on questions of this kind since the 1980s. Over the decades, the research focus in the field of plastics recycling has increased and developed further, often in direct cooperation with partners from industry.