Germany Establishes Upgraded Norms for Recycled Polyamide
Germany Establishes Upgraded Norms for Recycled Polyamide

Germany Establishes Upgraded Norms for Recycled Polyamide

  • 31-Jan-2024 3:20 PM
  • Journalist: Jacob Kutchner

The German Institute for Standardisation (DIN) has recently rolled out a groundbreaking standard for recycled plastics, known as DIN SPEC 91481, designed to enhance the classification of recycled plastics and polyamide-based plastic waste. This innovative standard focuses on data quality levels, facilitating the ease of trade for manufacturers and processors involved in the production and utilization of polyamide recyclates. The announcement, made on January 29, underscores the initiative's aim to streamline digital trading and utilization practices within the industry.

The development of DIN SPEC 91481 was a collaborative effort involving a consortium of 19 research and industry organizations, spearheaded by Cirplus, the largest digital procurement platform for recycled plastics in Europe, based in Hamburg. Notable contributors to the standard's formulation include the Institute for Plastics and Circular Economy (IKK), BASF, and Remondis.

Key features introduced by DIN SPEC 91481 include Data Quality Levels (DQLs) for plastic recyclates and plastic waste feedstock, offering a standardized classification based on available material data. This uniform language aims to eliminate barriers to the widespread use of recyclates in commercial products. The standard also incorporates definitions to enhance clarity in interactions within waste-to-product-to-waste value-chains.

The standard also includes recommendations on data collection, processing, and transmission across the entire life cycle, emphasizing a comprehensive approach to data management within the recycling process.

DIN SPEC 91481 is based on the methodology developed in DIN SPEC 91446, initiated by Cirplus, and adopted by the Association of the German Automotive Industry (VDA) in early 2023 as the foundation for using recycled materials in the automotive sector (VDA 284). The earlier standard is currently undergoing conversion into a European standard, and DIN anticipates a similar trajectory for the newly introduced DIN SPEC 91481.

Cirplus, as a central player in this development, operates a digital platform that connects over 3,000 plastics processors, product manufacturers, recyclers, and disposers from more than 100 countries. As of early 2023, the platform listed 4 million metric tons of plastic material. Cirplus' platform serves as a bridge between buyers and sellers of plastic waste feedstock and recyclates, facilitating end-to-end transactions for stakeholders involved in the plastics industry.

The introduction of DIN SPEC 91481 aligns with the broader context of the European Union's directives, particularly the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme. As part of these directives, member states are mandated to begin separate collection of textiles from 2025. Nylon, a polyamide widely used in the textile industry, is expected to be significantly impacted by these regulations. The new standard is poised to contribute to the industry's adaptation to evolving regulatory landscapes, fostering sustainability and circular practices within the plastics sector.

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