The Potential of Plastic Reuse for Manufacturing: A Case Study into Circular Business Models for an On-Line Marketplace
The plastic industry is facing increasingly growing social and political demands on plastic recycling and reuse. The resource perspective is essential for plastic production companies. Circular economy is one perspective for how industries could deal with a lack of resources today and in the future. However, there are large challenges in the reuse of plastics waste, predominantly due to concern regarding the quality of the waste material. Our paper focuses on the potential of the exchange of plastic material waste between companies in the production process before it enters into the recycling loop. In this study our aim is to investigate if an on-line marketplace is relevant for the plastic industry for this exchange, the market potential and the potential business model and requirements of the marketplace. Through interviews and benchmarking with five platform providers and two plastic manufacturing companies, we collected information on the business models of international digital platforms and plastic manufacturers concerning the exchange of reusable materials between companies. We also collected data through a survey sent out to plastic manufacturers via two industry organizations in Sweden. This paper will present the results from the study and conclude with a description of draft requirements with particular focus on direct reuse of regrind material, and a potential business model for the on-line marketplace that should be run on a commercial basis. This study shows that there are opportunities for the plastic industry to be at the forefront of a circular initiative that could also be utilized by other industries with adjustments to reflect the specific requirements of each industry.