New standard for circular plastics ensures higher quality and cost reduction

Cirplus, Europe's largest digital procurement platform for recycled plastics, has developed a new standard for the use of recycled plastics together with the IKK – Institute of Plastics and Circular Economy and the Kunststoff-Institut Luedenscheid. DIN SPEC 91481 improves the quality assurance of polyamide-based recyclates through the correction of previously insufficient data quality. It provides clear guidelines for the classification and description of waste and recyclates, thus simplifying trade in recycled plastics. In addition, the cooperation partners have developed a concept for a digital product passport for recycled plastics and waste along the entire value chain, which can also be implemented at European level.

© Cirplus

© Cirplus
The digital product passport in accordance with DIN SPEC 91481 ensures comprehensive data collection and processing from raw material to compound. The aim is to ensure the data quality of the material over its entire life cycle, and to create and legally pass on the often-missing information at raw material level.

"Quality variations and price differences between virgin and recycled plastics currently make it difficult to expand the recyclate market. Standards facilitate the use and procurement of recycled plastics. They are therefore a prerequisite for the scaling of the recycling industry. DIN SPEC 91481 creates more clarity for polyamide-based waste and recyclates and provides an important step towards a deeper digitalisation of the plastics and waste industry," remarks Christian Schiller, founder and CEO of Cirplus.

"The new DIN SPEC is an opportunity for all stakeholders in the recycling value chain, including the field of technical plastic recyclates, to remove the current quantitative and qualitative barriers. This can make a significant contribution to defossilisation and a more CO2-neutral recycling economy in the plastics industry," states Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Josef Endres, head of the IKK at the University of Hanover and consortium leader of DIN SPEC 91481 as well as the previous DIN SPEC 91446.

Combined with the wide reach and ease of use of digital platforms, DIN SPEC 91481 paves the way for a paradigm shift towards a truly circular plastics industry, catalysed by standardisation and digitalisation.

DIN SPEC 91481 builds on DIN SPEC 91446, which was also initiated by Cirplus, and transfers the data quality levels defined there to the specific requirements of polyamide recyclates. This previous standard is already used in the packaging and construction industries and was adopted by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) in early 2023 in VDA Recommendation 284 – a pioneering guideline for the use of plastic recyclates in automobiles.

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