By David Reed, UT EditorShawbury, UK- Plastics processors throughout Europe now have a free opportunity to collaborate on and benchmark their energy usage and costs against their peers in plastics manufacture.A market survey of energy usage in European plastics processing is being carried out by the newly formed RECIPE (Reduced Energy Consumption in Plastics Engineering) team, which was launched at Rapra Technology in March 2005. An online questionnaire and interactive website is available at www.eurecipe.com> to help all European plastics processors assess their use of energy and compare it with that of other firms in the sector.Companies that complete the online questionnaire receive several benefits, including:• A confidential copy of the RECIPE survey, which benchmarks contributing companies' energy use figures against all others in the survey; • A free software tool that allows accurate calculations of energy use and potential savings and so allows users to assess the true cost of machine ownership;• Free software, The Energy Manager's Toolkit, that allows better management of energy resources;• A free market update on energy markets/matters in Europe; and • A free bespoke newsletter.The initiative is part of the European Commission's Intelligent Energy, Europe programme."I strongly urge all European plastics processors to take a few minutes to fill in the questionnaire and become a part of our project by the deadline of Monday 5 Sept, 2005," says RECIPE project manager Suzanne Wilkinson. "The programme will run for the next 30 months and will contain significant future benefits to those users who demonstrate a real willingness to improve their energy performance and reduce its cost and use," she added in a 20 June statement.The overall objective of the three year RECIPE project is to provide the 27 000 companies in the European plastics processing industry with the knowledge, justification and tools required to reduce energy consumption, through the implementation of best practice, and the adoption of new technology. A key aim of the proposed new RECIPE programme is to demonstrate that energy purchase should be considered as a variable materials cost, with substantial potential for reduction, the statement added.The RECIPE initiative was established by research and opportunities identified by the Faraday Plastics and Polymers Partnership. It is jointly administered by Faraday Plastics and Rapra Technology, Europe's leading polymer research and test house. It involves partner organisations from six European countries that are now set to establish and promote best energy-saving practice in plastics processing across Europe."