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What are Post-consumer and Post-industrial Materials?

Today, it is not enough just to produce well, a special attention must also be given to the reuse of second-life materials. In fact, recycled plays a crucial role in the production of new objects today, going hand in hand with the goals set by the European Union on the circular economy objectives.

When talking about recycled materials, a distinction must be made between post-consumer and post-industrial materials. The first are plastic elements used and consumed by humans such as, for example, plastic bottles, tetrapak or food trays. The second ones, instead, are the residual and discarded materials from the first production of a plastic item in companies. Both elements can be reused within the production of new plastic objects, generating more value in the process and relying on a system of circularity of waste materials re-introduced into the production process. Recycled materials thus have an important sustainable value, providing an important element of circular economy, granting an important cut in CO2 emissions.

The great difficulty in recycling for plastics lies in the separation of the different types of plastics, in fact, for proper reuse of the material it is necessary to have only one plastic element such as, for example, PP or PET. A combination of different types of plastics would then make the item unrecyclable.

Post-consumer materials being diverted from incineration have a higher green value, but also a higher difficulty of use and availability. Nevertheless, post-industrial materials, which are easier to use, also play an equally important role by making a drastic cut in emissions.