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Could flexible laminated packaging soon be recycled?

With new advances in recycling technology, the possibility may soon arise whereby flexible laminated packaging will be recyclable. With its feasibility as the next recyclable material currently being investigated by a partnership of large brands from the production industry, this could be the next big movement in recycling.

A niche in the recycling industry

Led by sustainability consultancy Anthesis LRS, these large production companies have spotted a niche in the recycling industry. Defra estimate that at present, over 160,000 tonnes of flexible laminated packaging enter the UK marketplace each year, with a total value of £1 billion. Often containing a mix of aluminium recyclable plastics, this packaging is difficult at present to collect and separate for recycling purposes.

Aluminium lined packaging

Since such a staggering amount of this packaging is passing through our country each year, it is important that some effort is made to attempt its recycling. Defra has now agreed to provide £188,000 to the Action Based Research Programme project, in which they will investigate to see whether aluminium-lined items including food and drink pouches, pet food pouches and toothpaste tubes can be collected and have the aluminium recovered from them.
Should the trials prove successful, and the viable collection and recycling schemes are put into action, there could be a wealth of benefits for the environment as well as the economy. Not only would there be significant carbon emission savings, the secondary commodity market would also be flush with higher supplies of recycled goods and materials.

Move will “help increasing levels of recycling across the UK”

Enval’s Managing Director, Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, stated of the trials that they are providing “an important opportunity to prove that we can successfully capture and recycle the valuable aluminum, as well as recover the plastics as a fuel oil product”. He went on to say of the trials that they will present “a solid business case for Enval’s microwave induced pyrolysis technology to be bolted on to existing materials facilities and help increasing levels of recycling across the UK”.

The large brands who are in partnership with the project include Nestlé, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Suez Environment and Anthesis LRS; the coordinator of the trials. The materials will be recycled at Enval’s commercial demonstration facility near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. This will not only be excellent news for recycling in Huntingdon, but the rest of the UK and, eventually, the world over.

Here at Woodford Recycling, we are committed to providing expert, efficient recycling services to our customers throughout Cambridgeshire, extending our work to cover the rest of the UK with our network of approved partners. For more information on any of our services, get in touch with our friendly team of professionals today, and we’ll be happy to help, whatever the enquiry.

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