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Enval partners with Kraft Heinz Co., Sonoco to recycle flexible film packaging

Project Touchdown investigates options for “hard-to-recycle” flexible film packaging using Enval's technology.

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February 18, 2021

Enval has partnered with Kraft Heinz Co. and Sonoco to launch Touchdown, a project that seeks to improve packaging sustainability by accelerating the deployment of new plastic recycling solutions in the United States.

U.K.-based Enval has developed technology to recycle aluminum from plastic-aluminum laminates.  The company recycles flexible packaging using a proprietary pyrolysis solution that produces feedstock that can be used in the production of new plastic.

Enval’s ultimate aim with the project is to establish its first recycling plants in the United States that use its proprietary technology.

According to the company, the first phase of the project will involve Enval assessing the current disposal solutions for materials used by Sonoco and Kraft Heinz during the production and use of flexible plastic packaging. At the end of the first phase, Enval will produce, with input from the other partners, a feasibility study that will include potential locations for future recycling plants that minimizes the financial and environmental costs associated with transporting the packaging for recycling. Enval’s technology is designed to be modular so that the economic viability of the process starts at a "small" scale and with low capex.

Enval says it will continue the project by building these plants, which could initially target the treatment of scrap generated by Sonoco and Kraft Heinz, but with the idea of incorporating postconsumer material in the future. 

Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, CEO of Enval, says, “We’re thrilled to be working with two groups as important in the consumer packaged goods and packaging communities as Kraft Heinz and Sonoco. We’re convinced that it is only via these types of collaborations, which involve players at different stages of the supply chain, that new technologies such as ours can be deployed quicker. We must quickly establish new and better infrastructure to succeed in reducing plastic pollution and decreasing carbon emissions.”

Linda Roman, head of packaging growth and technology at Kraft Heinz, adds, “We see a high-demand for recyclable packaging amongst our consumers, which matches our goal of offering more sustainable products. The company began a relationship with Enval in 2011 to help construct their first commercial-scale plant in the U.K., and we are excited to also explore opportunities to advance packaging recycling with Enval in the United States.”

“While flexible packaging has a low environmental footprint, we recognize that innovation is needed in recycling technologies to improve its end-of-life options,” says Jeff Schuetz, staff vice president – global technology, consumer packaging, at Sonoco. “ Sonoco believes the combination of product and recycling innovation will provide a compelling solution and we are happy to partner with Enval on this exciting project.”