KUBA - Sustainable plastics value chain

  KUBA Copyright: © ANTS

Taking advantage of the versatile properties of synthetic materials, the use of plastics has become common in a wide range of applications within the building industry. During replacement, demolition and new construction works mixed wastes are generated. State of the art is the thermal utilization or landfilling of those materials. Striving for the EU goal of a circular economy material utilization possibilities have to be developed in order to implement a cascading use of composite materials.

The joint research project KUBA aims to gather and to evaluate data about plastics in the existing building stock, about material flows throughout the building industry and about process chains including the logistics of collection and recirculation, preconditioning, processing and thermal conversion of construction and demolition waste for feedstock recycling. Required processing steps are the selective size reduction and sorting of the different materials which formed the composite material.
Within this scope, tests assessing the processing of External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems (ETICS) are run at the technical laboratory of the Department of Processing and Recycling. The objective is to open-up the compound, and thus procure the plastics contained in ETICS for thermal conversion. The obtained products can serve as secondary raw material for the chemical industry. The analyzed materials are expanded polystyrene (EPS)/ extruded polystyrene (XPS) and polyurethane (PUR)/ polyisocyanurate (PIR) which are usually used for thermal insulation. Due to the required energy-oriented modernization of residential buildings in Germany, an increase in this waste stream characterized by a high specific volume is to be expected in the next years.

The cooperation of the project partners from the industry and research sector facilitates a holistic view on the value creation chain of plastics in the construction industry. By analyzing the pilot case ETICS, findings on technical requirements are expected and their classification into the economic, ecological and legal conditions shall be possible. KUBA is a R&D-project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Project Management Jülich (PtJ) by funds from the framework program FONA3 under the flagship initiative City of the Future. Industrial partners are:

  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft PVC und UMWELT e.V. (AGPU)
  • BKV GmbH
  • Bundesverband Sekundärrohstoffe und Entsorgung e.V. (bvse)
  • Covestro Deutschland AG
  • DECHEMA Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie e.V.
  • Deutsche Bauchemie e.V.
  • INEOS Styrolution Group GmbH
  • PlasticsEurope Deutschland e. V.
  • Sto SE & Co. KGaA
  • Tönsmeier Wertstoffe GmbH & Co. KG
  • VCI – Verband der Chemischen Industrie e.V.

The scientific support is provided by:

  • FH Münster University of Applied Sciences, Institute for Infrastructure, Water, Resources and Environment (IWARU)
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistic (IML)
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • RWTH Aachen University, Department of Anthropogenic Material Cycles
  • Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie gGmbH


Level: National

Partner: 16

Budget I.A.R.: 90,000 €

Duration: 12.2018 - 05.2020

More information about the project can be found here.



Martin Simons

Research assistant


+49 241 80 95966