Viewpoint: joint-interview between François Aublé, Chairman of the Syndicat national des Régénérateurs de matières Plastiques (French plastics recyclers association) and Luc Peyrard, Managing Director of C2P France.
What is an RRM?
François Aublé, Veka
“RRM is the abbreviation for “Recycled Raw Materials” or “Regenerated Raw Materials” (in French “MPR” stands for “Matières Premières Recyclées”). These materials are made by regenerators from waste from multiple sources: households, agriculture, construction, tertiary or industry. They are a substitute for raw materials and have a double benefit: they are of equal quality to those of raw materials and they are much more environmentally friendly. Their production generates between 3 and 17 times less CO2 emissions than materials from natural resources and consumes up to 9 times less non-renewable energy. The range of possible applications is very wide and is growing exponentially. The search for new outlets is also a key issue to consolidate and sustain the sector.
An example: in my company VEKA Recyclage, we recycle end-of-life PVC joinery on construction sites, DIB sorting centres or building platforms as well as production scrap from industrial joineries. The recycled PVC we produce can be used in many applications such as profiles, pipes, floors, windows, etc.”
What are the RRMs produced by C2P?
Luc Peyrard, C2P France
“In the case of C2P, we produce high-end rPP granules, i.e. recycled polypropylene. We talk about “compounds” because C2P’s added value is to enrich recycled polypropylene with additives that give it certain mechanical or physico-chemical characteristics, for example.
Although the applications of our products are necessarily non-food due to the post-production and post-consumer waste we recycle, their destinations are very diverse. We work with car manufacturers and their automotive suppliers, but also with the construction, horticulture, packaging and industrial equipment sectors. Historically C2P has been the first recycler approved for certain outdoor applications in the automotive sector such as wheel arches and recently our products have also been approved for indoor applications with visible part constraints.”
Are there still any obstacles to the use of RRMs in France?
Luc Peyrard, C2P France
“First of all, it should be noted that France is one of the most involved countries in the ecological transition in Europe. During the National Debate (“Grand Débat national” in French), we saw the strong convictions of the French people in favour of a more responsible economy and consumption. This is the basis of the draft law on the circular economy, especially since it is an essential link in the country’s reindustrialization.
In reality, the use of RRMs is increasing but sometimes still encounters some obstacles. For example, the regulatory framework is very complex because of the very nature of the activity because it involves collecting, storing and processing waste, sometimes called hazardous waste. Not to mention that not all our neighbouring countries play by the same rules. The main obstacle still lies in the image of RRMs among certain purchasing departments or consumers. While everyone agrees on the benefits of recycling, there are still doubts about the quality of a product made from waste. It is an issue of image and pedagogy. It is precisely the role of the sector through the SRP, the French plastics recyclers association, to fill this acceptance gap so that products made from RRMs have the consumer’s confidence and preference.
Tomorrow, RRMs will be an important criteria for consumers. The entire sector is committed to this responsible approach to meet the expectations of today and tomorrow.”
Luc Peyrard is Managing Director of C2P France, a pioneer company in recycled polypropylene since 1988 and a member of the SRP.
What are the actions of the SRP to develop the use of RRMs?
François Aublé, Veka
“One of the primary missions of the SRP, which I have the honour to chair, is obviously to develop the use of RRMs by industrial customers, in order to give recycling its rightful place in the life cycle of plastic products. Our daily commitment is to create viable economic conditions favourable to the development of this young industry that meets current societal expectations. To overcome preconceived ideas, it is necessary to fill this image gap and give confidence in our products. If I had to summarize our action: a speech of proof on the quality and environmental benefits of our members’ materials.
The SRP is also part of a process to standardize RRMs, always with a view to providing more proof of the quality of these materials and to reassure end users, contractors and designers alike.
I would like to mention an initiative that the SRP has set up and which is a first in Europe: the Carbon Economy Certificates. They make it possible to quantify, for the industrial user, the carbon economy made possible by the use of each tonne of RRM from our members, in total or partial substitution of virgin resins. They are based on a study of the entire RRM production process carried out by the SRP in partnership with the ADEME (“Agence de l’environnement et de la maîtrise de l’énergie” in french stands for Environment and Energy Management Agency) and all the players in the sector. Thanks to the RRMs produced by our members, since the beginning of 2019, the potential CO2 savings have reached more than 586,000 tonnes. It is a formidable lever to encourage and convince end users, and contractors for their purchases or the recovery of their waste.
While we are also in favour of the implementation of material incorporation certificates, the great advantage of carbon economy certificates is precisely that they already make it possible to track and trace the incorporation of RRM. In this respect, they are tangible proof of the integration of RRMs into production processes. With the same objective in mind, we are also supporting the project to create an NF MPR quality mark (“Norme Française Matières Premières Recyclées” stands for French standard Recycled raw materials).”
François Aublé est Président du SRP, le Syndicat national des Régénérateurs de matières Plastiques et Président de la société VEKA Recyclage, spécialisée dans le recyclage du PVC.