UK agency to fund study on the recycling of flexible packaging

Consortium of food and beverage producers will help to assess recycling options.

July 23, 2014
RTGE Staff
Legislation & Regulations Municipal / IC&I Nonferrous

The United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced plans to fund a consortium of food and drink producers and recycling specialists to assess viable approaches for collecting flexible packaging materials containing aluminum such as toothpaste tubes and pet food containers. The goal of the research is to find ways to improve the recycling and the remanufacturing of aluminium from flexible packaging products.

Defra estimates that more than 160,000 metric tons of flexible laminate packaging containing aluminium enters the U.K. marketplace on an annual basis.

Members involved in the study include UK-based divisions of Nestle, environmental consulting firm LRS Consultancy, recycling technology developer Enval, resource management firm Sita UK and food and drink producers and retailers Nestlé UK & Ireland, Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) and Tesco UK.

According to Defra, study participants will research, develop and test new methods of recovering and treating flexible plastic and aluminium laminate packaging and will explore ways to increase the amount of flexible laminate packaging that is collected and recycled in England.

The group’s work will also assess the feasibility of a range of collection and communication approaches for households and businesses across the country. Dependent on the results, the consortium may go on to implement trials to test collection solutions for flexible packaging and provide insight as to how consumer behavior and attitudes influence collection models. The outcome of the research could enable SITA, Enval and others to evaluate the potential to include flexible packaging in mainstream recycling collections and assess the cost benefit of the different approaches trialed, the consortium says.