The second week of Plasticycle’s implementation phase continued, this time taking place in different Swiss cities such as Fribourg, Lausanne and Sion.
Starting on Monday the 4th of July 2022, Marylise and Peter spent the day at Plastics Innovation: a competence centre that advances circular nature-inspired and innovative materials/products in plastics. The Plastics Innovation Competence Center (PICC) is legally represented by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO) and the School of Engineering and Architecture in Fribourg (HEIA-FR). The PICC offers expanded and complementing services to address short and long term industrial challenges. Visiting this centre allowed the sustainable start-up to test fundamental techniques used during the recycling process of plastic. Among these techniques were: manual sorting, grinding, extrusion, injection molding process and screw configuration.The manual sorting systems use trained inspectors to visually identify and sort PET bottles and containers into designated categories from a stream of plastic bottles passing over a conveyor, but what really makes the recycle of plastic effective is the grinding process. During this phase the raw materials are sent to the main grinding unit where they are crushed and grounded. Finally, during the extrusion process, plastics transform from solid to liquid and back again without sacrificing their distinctive properties. As a result, scrap parts can be ground and re-extruded with minimal degradation, making extrusion a popular method for reducing or recycling plastic waste. PICC explained how defects and errors can often occur, especially during the extrusion process.
On Tuesday, Valentina and Gastone joined the rest of the team in Sion to visit DePoly; a recycling centre which was born from an university start-up two years ago.
Wednesday was a full day for the team who had to travel to Lausanne. On this day Plasticycle finally took profit of the prize won in November 2021 at the Swiss Pavillon of EXPO Dubai 2020. Acquiring the 1st place in –The Swiss Middle East Circular Economy for Youth Initiative– profited the team with mentoring sessions organised by the Nestlé Accelerator Programme in Lausanne. Nestlé’s experts were open to help them in the creation of their venture offering guidance with the following agenda:
- Welcome & visit of R&D Accelerator
- Lab to Shop Innovation Acceleration
- Start up coaching
- Lunch with the Head of R&D Human Resources
- Innovation Project Management
- Tour of Packaging Institute
- Marketing and Digital Branding
During this week the team was supported by Professor Roger Marti, who has consistently acted as a mentor since Plasticycle’s creation.