2. POLYPROBLEM report: Treasure Hunt

Annually, nearly 400 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide. However, less than ten percent consist of recycled material. The question, why there are so few circular plastics currently OR to date, is analysed by the second POLYPROBLEM report.

Treasure Hunt: Far away from a functioning recycling market

The second POLYPROBLEM Report TREASURE HUNT, published in cooperation with cirplus, a digital marketplace for recycled plastics, and the Röchling Foundation analyses the many reasons why the market for recycled plastics does not work properly and how this could improve in the future.

Read the report

Why supply and demand for recycled plastic do not match

The market for recycled plastic is broken. Suppliers of recycled materials complain about competitive handicaps and a sales market that is far too small. At the same time, industry and processors are missing the quantities and quality they would need for a more sustainable business model. How can this be? Why do supply and demand manifestly not match?

Guided by the question of what is necessary in order to better manage material flows and thus make a circular economy possible, POLYPROBLEM spoke with leading experts from business and science, took a closer look at the perspectives of the various market participants along the value chain, and created a vision for a circular society providing comprehensive recommendations for action.

We would like to thank everyone who made this report possible:

  • The entire Röchling Foundation team, above all Uwe Amrhein, Annunziata Gräfin Hoensbroech and Sarah Güth for the excellent and interesting cooperation.
  • To all the experts who provided us with their time and knowledge in the field of plastics and the environment.

You can request free printed copies, also in larger numbers, at info@roechling-stiftung.de.

Cover of the 2nd Polyproblem Report "Treasure Hunt. Faults and Flaws of the Recycling Market …and a Glimpse into a Possible Future."

POLYPROBLEM is an action program by the non-profit Röchling Foundation and the consulting firm Wider Sense. It is designed to further transparency and joint action in the field of plastics and the environment.


  • … brings transparency to a very confusing global challenge.
  • … gathers ideas and resources.
  • … contributes to making the best innovations for a plastic-free environment ready for the market.
  • … helps to systematically disseminate the most effective solutions.
  • … puts research into practice.

Twice a year, POLYPROBLEM publishes a report on the latest developments and most pressing issues concerning the topic “plastics and the environment”. Researched and put together with experts from science and practice.

In expert workshops, excursions and webinars, actors from companies, civil society organisations, science and politics share their knowledge and develop joint approaches to solutions.

In addition, POLYPROBLEM actively brings initiators together with sponsors in order to accelerate the dissemination and upscaling of effective solutions.