How Innovation and Multi-stakeholder Collaboration Can Reduce Packaging Waste

Due to demands for high-performance packaging by consumers and the industry, a good fraction of packaging is multi-layered. This, in turn, makes recycling difficult. How can innovation and multi-stakeholder collaboration play a positive role in reducing waste and keeping materials in the loop?

Our project MERLIN, which launched in June 2021, aims to increase the rate and quality of multi-layer packaging recycling. To do so, it relies on a collaborative process between technology partners, waste management companies, service providers, packaging industry, and a European packaging association.

MERLIN, which stands for Increasing the quality rate of Multi-layer packaging recycLINg waste, is looking to not only decrease the current amount of plastic packaging waste by introducing innovative solutions (technological, policy and social) but also reduce the consumption of raw materials and increase the quality of packaging waste in line with the principles of the circular economy.

The CSCP supports the project by mapping all relevant stakeholders in the packaging waste recycling chain and engaging them in an active and solution-oriented dialogue.

Using a personas approach, the CSCP will ensure that all value chain actors are represented along with their operational settings, relationship, interests and motivations. A study of barriers and opportunities regarding multi-layer packaging waste collection, sorting, recovery, derivation of valuable products, and consumer acceptance will follow the mapping of the value chain.

In all MERLIN partner countries (Spain, Italy, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Croatia), the CSCP will establish Circular Economy Innovation Exchange Clubs that will serve as ecosystems for the engagement of key stakeholders. The circularity clubs will act as a platform not only for knowledge exchange within partners and stakeholders, but also as an instance for the validation of innovations (policy, product, process, and social innovation). The clubs will further be leveraged to engage with consumer safety experts to test and validate project-generated innovations from a consumer safety perspective.

A methodology for defining good practices (social innovation, policy, process and product innovation) will be developed by the CSCP. MERLIN’s innovations will be compiled into a database that will improve industry knowledge on good practices of recycling packaging waste (product, process, social innovation and policy). The CSCP will draw guidelines to further facilitate the exchange of the technical know-how and social innovations generated within the framework of the project. Based on these guidelines, the CSCP will craft policy recommendations to increase the packaging recycling rates and quality.

The MERLIN project consists of 14 partners from Germany, Spain, Netherlands, France, Croatia, Italy and Belgium and will run until 2024. The project is funded by the European Commission through its Horizon 2020 programme. The project kicks-off officially on 1 July 2021.

For further questions, please contact Jannik Giesen.