Plastic Waste to End Product

Plastic Waste to End Product
Minor International Entrepreneurship & Development 2017

Shanghai, China

Sarah van Amerongen
Daan Herpers
Kristie Goorden

Project description
In the project description will be explained what the assumptions are of the project we will be working on. Firstly, the background information of the initiative will be explained. Secondly, the stakeholders and their goals will be described and lastly our assignment will be written out.

Background information
The project is an initiative founded by Waste2Wear in cooperation with the Dutch Consulate in Shanghai.
The Dutch consulate has a team, which main focus is the circular economy in China. They want to make a linkage between Dutch and Chinese universities and businesses in order to decrease pollution and stimulate the circular economy.
Waste2Wear is a company founded by the Dutch Monique Maissan. Its key activity is to manufacture textiles from (plastic) waste. These textiles are used to produce school and business uniforms and fashion by Waste2Wear and other clothing companies.

Stakeholders and their goals

  • Our first stakeholder is Waste2Wear. Their goal is to increase their plastic stock, because the plastics they have now, are not enough for their desired production. In order to achieve this, they want to design new supply chains, based on the types of plastics which are not being used yet but found in large amounts at their collection sites.
  • Our second stakeholder is the Dutch Consulate. The consulate wants more initiatives like Waste2Wear to increase the program and reduce and reuse the waste in China.

During this project, the Consulate has two goals they want to accomplish:

  • First, they want to attract businesses who will reduce the amount of plastic waste in the rivers and ocean areas of China by clearing the waters from waste intensively and preventing waste from ending up in the waters.
  • Second, they want to gain knowledge on how to turn (plastic) waste into useable fabric or other materials on a large scale.  

Our assignment
We will work together with Waste2Wear. They already have a successful business and business plan regarding manufacturing with PET, but they are in need of more options of plastic which they can turn into textiles or other recyclable products. We will look into the possibilities of the different kinds of plastics and how to apply these. 

Waste2Wear sees this plastic as a possible future material to use in the circular economy. The following steps have to be followed to accomplish this:

  1. Look into the possibilities of recycling other kinds of plastics than PET and selecting the best method for manufacturing from the technologies available.
  2. Make a conceptual design on how this process will take place. This will be the blueprint for future projects that will build on this research.
  3. Attract businesses that are interested in this material. Pitch them the possibilities and how this helps them in achieving their business goals.
  4.  Promote the new supply chain to both the TU Delft as to local Chinese businesses and universities (by organising a small event).
  5. Write a final report on the entire project so that future projects will be able to continue the research that has been done.  

To supplement the raw material of businesses, during this project a new supply chain will be created. The raw material consists of plastic coastal waste of the coastal areas in and around Shanghai. In this way, the new supply chain will also contribute to the solution of the huge environmental coastal waste problem in China. The project will take place in Shanghai. In collaboration with the Dutch Consulate in Shanghai and a company called Waste2Wear, this supply chain will be developed. The research objective of this project is: “to design supply chains for the realization of applications for currently non-utilized types of coastal plastic waste from the Shanghai region by identifying the waste types and analysing suitable recycling methods for these types.”

During this project a few stakeholders has to be taken in account. First, the company called Waste2Wear. Their main goal during this project is to reduce plastic waste in the ocean and make profits with their recycled products. They provide information and expertise during this project and will guide the project from the beginning.

The second stakeholder during this project is the Dutch Consulate in Shanghai. Their main goal is also to reduce plastic waste in Shanghai and its surrounding areas. Therefore, they want more initiatives like Waste2Wear to join the circular economy, to increase the program they have set up. In order to attract these businesses, they want to make a linkage between Dutch and Chinese universities and businesses. During this project they want to organise public events, in which they can inform other organisations of the project. Thereby, they want to publish the end-report to promote the initiative. The businesses they want to attract will play an important role in the continuation of the project. Therefore, the third stakeholder during this project is the other businesses in the branch. Their opinions need to be taken in consideration while creating the supply chain and the final report. It has to be easy to implement and to understand.

During the internship in Shanghai a few research questions will be answered. The research questions are split into different categories: plastic identification and segregation, product development, and evaluation. To answer these questions, 3 types of research methods will be used: desk research, field research and market research. Questions that are being answered during the plastic identification and segregation period are:

  • Which new monitoring parameters are needed to make the yet generated data more useful for recycling purposes?
  • What is the difference in the combination of plastics present on the two collection sites?
  • What are differences between the sites causing these combinations?
  • How much plastic waste is present on the collection sites?
  • How can the plastics, which are difficult to recognize be identified?
  • What are the available segregation methods for the identified plastics?  

Questions that are being answered during the product development period are:

  • How can business models for low cost technologies for recycling non-utilized wastes be developed and scaled?
  • What are the possible applications of the plastics found in large enough amounts?
  • Which manufacturing methods are required for these applications?
  • Which recycling methods are required in order to apply these manufacturing methods?
  • Which creative, conceptual applications can be thought of, matching the businesses involved?

Questions that are being answered during the evaluation period are:

  • What are the feasibility parameters and potential challenges of these applications, keeping quality and aesthetics in mind?
  • What are the costs of executing the conceptual designs?
  • What is the (difference in) environmental impact of this execution (compared to current alternatives)?

When the research questions are answered, a few deliverables need to be handed in. The end-report will consist of 11 weeks in which different parts of the supply chain will be discussed.  In the table below the different weeks with their subjects will be shown:

The project will continue, after the internship is finished, with the blueprint that is made from the supply chain. This blueprint can be worked out in detail by next student groups whom can focus on a more detailed part of the supply chain in stead of the chain in its whole.

Sarah van Amerongen, Kristie Goorden and Daan Herpers

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