TRANSFORMing single use plastic and creating a CE-business model

Project Summary

An introduction

The problems of plastic waste and in particular its adverse effects on the environment are gaining importance and attention in politics, economics, science and the media. More than eight million tons of disposable plastic ends up in our oceans every year, damaging our ecosystems and health. In Europe, the north western countries (United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, France and the Benelux countries) are the main consumers and the largest producers of disposable plastic waste. In addition to the problems of disposing of and recycling plastic waste, there are also challenges on the procurement side: the proportion of recycled material for new products is low while the demand for plastic production is increasing. Over the last years million tonnes of plastic products were manufactured in the EU and only 30% of the plastic waste generated was collected for recycling. Half of this was exported to countries outside the EU for further processing and is thus lost as a secondary raw material for the European plastics economy.

Under these circumstances, more plastics recycling is not only necessary from an ecological point of view, but also economically as it could meet the demand of the plastics producing and processing industry and contribute to regional value creation. In terms of resource efficiency, landfilling and incineration of plastic waste should be avoided and instead, priority be given to material reuse and high-value recycling.

The TRANSFORM-CE project, led by Professor Craig Banks of Manchester Metropolitan University, has the potential to bring about radical change by enabling disposable plastics – including single use plastics – to be recycled and reused in nine European countries. The development of a circular economy and the strengthening of the market for recyclates in North West Europe has many advantages: independence from importing primary resources; valorisation of disposable plastics; stimulation of demand for recycled products; and prevention and mitigation of environmental impacts and losses through landfilling and incineration.

Valuable new products will be created from current single-use plastic waste

Currently, plastic products are manufactured from scratch using virgin material and natural resources. They are used once and are then at best recycled into different, poorer quality products, before ultimately becoming waste. TRANSFORM-CE plans to convert all types of single use plastic from municipal and commercial waste streams into valuable new products. It intends to divert an estimated 2,580 tonnes of plastic between 2021 and 2024. This will equate to an estimated reduction in CO2 of 2,800 tonnes. TRANSFORM-CE will thus not only divert thousands of tonnes of waste from landfill across North West Europe, but also create new economic demand for the uptake of recycled plastic materials by businesses, both locally and further afield.

TRANSFORM-CE and business

By offering businesses an alternative to virgin plastic feedstock, TRANSFORM-CE will support them to become circular. Using recycled plastic from two pilot plants in Almere, The Netherlands, and Greater Manchester, United Kingdom, to create new products will become a viable business model. The plants will allow material resources to be used and reused efficiently by increasing the amount of material recovered, re-used, recycled and diverted from landfill. Two innovative technologies – intrusion extrusion moulding (IEM) and additive manufacturing (AM) – will turn single-use plastic waste back into raw plastic material, known as feedstock, to then become anything from tables, chairs, construction material and other new valuable products. After that, these products can be recycled again, turning them back into feedstock and closing the loop. In the words of Professor Banks, “It is fantastic that we are leading this circular step change, engaging with EU research institutes, business and government to support the adoption of a circular economy and wider engagement as part of Industry 4.0.”

Developing an EU Road Map towards a circular economy for SUP waste

By scaling technology, TRANSFORM-CE will develop and demonstrate circular economy business models and stimulate new secondary material markets across North West Europe for re-manufacturing, demonstrating that municipal waste plastic can be re-purposed and revalued. Long-term uptake through scaling up of the technology with industry investment will have the potential to divert an estimated 55 Mt in 10 years.


International Floriade Expo 2022 – 14th April-9th October 2022

14-04-2022 - 09-10-2022, Floriade - Almere

Join our partner, Save Plastics, in Almere (The Netherlands) as they showcase recycled products manufactured in the TRANSFORM-CE IEM plant as part of this important International H... Read more

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In the Spotlight: 10XL Business Case Study

Posted on 06-05-2021

An important component of the TRANSFORM-CE project is understanding the business context for creating a circular economy for single use plastic waste. To achieve this, several case... Read more

Meet the Partners: Save Plastics

Posted on 06-05-2021

Save Plastics is an innovative Dutch company that specialises in the recycling of plastic waste into new, value-added products, such as outdoor furniture, decking and planters. Read more

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Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Manchester Metropolitan University Chester street
M1 5GD
United Kingdom
Name Contact Name Email Country
Materia Nova Olivier Talon Belgium
Social Environmental and Economic Solutions (SOENECS) Ltd David Greenfield United Kingdom
Gemeente Almere Johan Luiks Netherlands
Save Plastics Bram Peters Netherlands
Technische Universiteit Delft Zjenja Doubrovski Netherlands
Hogeschool Utrecht Martijn Rietbergen Netherlands
Hochschule Trier Umwelt-Campus Birkenfeld Institut für angewandtes Stoffstrommanagement (IfaS) Ulrike Kirschnick Germany
bCircular GmbH Tobias Gruben Germany
Viridor Waste Management Limited Marcus Du Pree Thomas United Kingdom

Partners of project TRANSFORM-CE 

Lead partner of project TRANSFORM-CE is Manchester Metropolitan University. The circular waste management organisations involved in Interreg NWE project TRANSFORM-CE are: bCircular GmbH from Germany, Viridor Waste Management Ltd from the United Kingdom and Save Plastics from The Netherlands, in partnership with sub-partners Interseroh Dienstleistungs GmbH (DE), and Cirwinn (NL).

Public authority Municipality of Almere is also a key contributor to the project by building a green plastic plant in Almere, delivering household plastic waste and coordinate the project communications.

The project is actively supported by research and test centres:

Materia Nova

Go to the website of Materia Nova


Hochschule Trier Umwelt-Campus Birkenfeld Institut für angewandtes Stoffstrommanagement.

Go to the website of IfaS

Manchester Metropolitan University BASF

Go to the website of SOENECS

Hogeschool Utrecht

Go to the website of Hogeschool Utrecht

Technische Universiteit Delft

Go to the website of Technische Universiteit Delft 

The following organisations have committed helping the partnership reach the project objective to uptake the CE Plastic Road Map and are members of the advisory board:

  • Suez Ltd (UK)
  • Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA)
  • Repic (UK)
  • The Environment Agency (UK)
  • Plastiwin (BE)
  • Wallonia Region (BE)
  • Province Flevoland (NL)
  • The Netherlands Enterprise Agency – RVO (DE)
  • Royal Dutch Waste Management Association – NVRD (DE)
  • Landesamt fur Umwelt Rheinland-Pfalz - LfU RLP (DE)


A range of organisations will also share their expertise and experience over the course of the project (associate partners):

  • In the UK - Entreprise Europe Network, Dyson Ltd, Express Group Ltd, SCALED3D, Greater Manchester Business Support, WRAP.
  • In Germany – Cortec GmbH, Rhein Lahn Kreis AW, MVA Müllverwertungsanlage Bonn GmbH (MVA BN
  • In Belgium - IPIC Plastic, Intercommunale de Développement économique et d'Aménagement du Coeur du Hainaut (IDEA)



Tests 3D

Posted on

Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is a constantly evolving technology expected to be significantly part of our everyday life in a near future. Despite being still less than 1% of the global manufacturing market, AM is yet a boon for many industrial sectors such as medical, transportation or energy, and is used at all stages of production, from proof of concept and prototyping to full-scale manufacturing. Read More

HU: students

Posted on

Several students from the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht have recently started working on projects for the TRANSFORM-CE project. In a range of different projects, the students are conducting research and are doing tests with regards to the recycling of plastics. For example, a plastic recycling machine is being built, tests with 3D printing are taking place and a market research is being done with regards to this subject. Read More


Posted on

Summary of Transforming Plastics Webinar: During the webinar ‘Transforming Plastics’, on November 10th, Jimmy Mulkens from Save Plastics gave an interesting presentation about the TRANSFORM_CE project which attracted a lot of interest about re-designing and new markets to transform plastics from household waste into valuable new products among the 45 participants from various countries and professions. Read More

Are you a business interested in being a part of TRANSFORM-CE? Register your interest here!

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