Swiss researchers at the University of St.Gallen (HSG), in collaboration with universities and businesses, are leading an Innosuisse project with a 4 million Swiss franc budget to revolutionize the plastics industry. The goal is to make plastics emission-neutral using circular economy principles. Addressing climate change as both a challenge and an opportunity, the interdisciplinary team, including OST, SUPSI, ETH, EPFL, and HSG, along with 18 businesses, seeks to bring about lasting change in the plastics industry. The four-year, CHF 8 million project, “Towards a NetZero Plastics Industry,” led by Dr. Lukas Budde, aims to combat CO2 emissions by leveraging digital technologies, innovative materials, and new processes.
Focusing on combating environmental pollution and emissions, the project strives to establish an innovation ecosystem for the Swiss plastics industry, promoting the circular economy. Plastics production, contributing 3.4% to global CO2 emissions, generates over 390 million tonnes of waste annually. The researchers aim to prevent plastic waste from entering the environment, rivers, and oceans by initiating systematic changes. Moritz Häussler underscores the urgency, noting an estimated loss of $80-120 billion due to plastic packaging waste.
Recognizing the strategic importance of sustainability, HSG integrates the circular economy into its Vision and Strategy 2025, viewing it as a key solution to the climate crisis. The university’s commitment is evident in projects like the Circular Lab and the Innosuisse lighthouse project, contributing valuable knowledge to address pressing environmental issues.