When Australian environment ministers sat down to discuss what to do about the China ban on the nation’s domestic rubbish exports last week, plastics industry leaders in Europe were celebrating their first awards ceremony for the circular economy.
The new poster child for recycled plastics in Europe is, ironically, a vacuum cleaner. The Grundig model cleaner is reborn from the waste from electronic goods surrendered to the company factory. For industry, it is proof that recycled plastics can be substituted for virgin material to build quality products.
Another award winner was a plastic bottle that could be completely recycled, including the lid. What can seem a small thing is actually a big advance, a Holy Grail of plastics and a focus of intense international research.