Industrial relevant case study in which recycling some common streams of multilayer packaging waste (PET-PE, PA-PE, EVOH) are studied

Multilayer packaging

Performed by CPMT-UGent, ProPoLiS-KU Leuven and Centexbel-VKC

Pack4Food follows this project by participating in the users’ group.

Foils for packing (food) products often consist of multilayers of different polymer materials, which each have their own functionality. The different layers are physically attached to one another, causing the combined polymers to be inseparable and to be processed in a mixture while recycled. This has a big influence on the characteristics and the processability of these mixtures, which makes an efficient mechanical recycling very challenging. Therefore, many of these food packagings are currently only valorized through burning with energy recuperation. But now it is becoming poignantly present-day to be able to set up an effective recycling method for these enormous volumes of plastic waste as well. There are big volumes of waste (cutting rests, end of rolls, …) not only on postindustrial level, but also on postconsumer level they are increasing.

The research approach includes the next aspects:

  • Identification and characterization of the selected streams
  • Simulation of the flowing behavior of the mixed polymers, both for the influence of the divergent melting temperatures, as for the flow in a multilayer extrusion
  • Upgrading the mixtures with known efficient additives like compatibilizers and stabilizers
  • Applying the Design From Recycling strategy for the identification and design of new applications with these materials
  • Realization of proof concepts with the materials from the case studies
  • Bringing the results together in generic guidelines for mechanic recycling of multilayer packaging waste

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