The plastics refinery: no more waste

PREFER aims to develop an all-encompassing plastics refinery concept that enables the recycling of plastics that, to this day, are unrecyclable.


Blue bag

Several types of plastic waste are collected by Flemish consumers in the so-called “blue bag”. At the moment, no satisfying solutions exist for the complete closed-loop recycling of all of these waste streams. While PET bottles can be successfully recycled, this is not the case for HDPE and PP bottles and trays, PS trays, PE and other foils, and residual fractions.

Refine to recycle

PREFER seeks to tackle those waste streams that are currently unrecyclable by developing a completely new plastics refinery concept in line with oil refineries developed more than a century ago.

The project will focus on the characterisation and recycling towards monomer recovery of polyolefin streams, principally from packaging. A plastic waterfall concept will be applied: solutions will be explored for the different fractions coming from the separation and purification process and optimal conditions/catalysts will be chosen. Integration with existing infrastructure present at olefin producers should allow for fast commercialisation of the PREFER innovations.


By developing an innovative plastics refinery concept, PREFER will help Flemish industries recycle various “blue bag” waste streams, increase the use of recycled plastics in new packaging, and thus contribute to the circularity of carbon in materials.

Project details

Project type
ESI Project
Research trajectory
Project status
Approved on
Project date
€2 996 461

Project Partners