A growing negative public attitude towards plastics and recent regulatory attempts to reduce its use increase the demand for recycled plastics. However, the available supply of recycled plastics cannot satisfy the demand regarding quality and quantity. To understand how the plastics recycling networks could be transformed to meet the growing demand, we run an interview study along the recycling supply chain from waste collection to the use of secondary raw materials by the OEM. So far, we have conducted 25 semi-structured interviews and complemented that information with data from industry organizations and NGOs. The emerging findings reveal why current plastics recycling practices are insufficient to meet the growing demand. Further, we showcase a path towards high-quality plastics by providing a grounded theoretical framework for a recycled plastics supply network that accounts for the management of the recycling network, coordination between recyclers and OEM, and the use of recycled plastics by the OEM. The study highlights that research and improvements in operations management play an important role in the transformation towards high-quality plastics recycling.
Moritz Jäger-Roschko is a PhD Candidate in the fields of Circular Economy and Supply Chain Management at Kühne Logistics University, supervised by Prof. Moritz Petersen and Prof. Maria Besiou. In his research, he studies plastics recycling networks and information sharing in circular supply chains. His research is part of the CREAToR project funded by the EU research and innovation program Horizon 2020. CREAToR aims to close material loops for hazardous, flame retardant materials by developing appropriate recycling and logistics processes. Moritz received his Master's degree in International Management and Engineering from the Technische Universität Hamburg (TUHH) in 2018. During his Master's program, he specialized in Supply Chain Management. Moritz holds a B.Eng. degree in Naval Architecture and a B.Eng. degree in Offshore Systems Technology from the University of Applied Sciences in Kiel.