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is flexible plastic packaging recyclable

is flexible plastic packaging recyclable

is flexible plastic packaging recyclable插图


What is recycling of flexible plastic packaging?

Recycling of Flexible Plastic Packaging presents thorough and detailed information on the management and recycling of flexible plastic packaging, focusing on the latest actual/potential methods and techniques and offering actionable solutions that minimize waste and increase product efficiency and sustainability.

What are the different types of flexible packaging?

Other common forms of flexible packaging include pet food bags, pouches for laundry detergent pods, and snack bags. Many of these are made with multiple layers of ultrathin plastics or other materials, each of which serves an important function, such as blocking air or moisture, to protect the product.

Why can’t we recycle plastic pouches?

Even if pouches were collected and separated by recyclers, there would be no one to buy them because there aren’t yet products or end markets for which this type of plastic would be useful. Flexible packaging such as potato chip bags are made from layers of different types of plastic and often are lined with aluminum.

Are beverage bottles recyclable?

Like flexible packaging, these containers challenge the recycling system because they’re made of several different types of plastic: the shiny adhesive labels are one plastic, the protective cap another, and a twistable gear can be yet another. Beverage bottles Recyclable.

What about Recycling?

As consumers and public policymakers increasingly value recycling/recovery of post-use materials, companies in the flexible plastic packaging value chain are seeking solutions to effectively and economically recover this material.

What is MRFF research?

The MRFF collaborative is researching and testing the potential for current material sorting technologies to improve separation of flexible plastic packaging in the existing solid waste stream . This research is focused particularly on screening mechanisms that can separate materials, along with sortation systems that use optical technologies to scan and detect materials. These efforts are designed to help material recovery facilities (MRFs) create valuable resins for use by downstream recyclers.

What is MRFF in packaging?

MRFF is a collaboration of brand owners, retailers, manufacturers, and packaging industry organizations* “committed to advancing the understanding of how flexible plastic packaging can be effectively sorted for recovery.” Through MRFF, these organizations are undertaking a focused research program with a shared vision: recovering these materials from the waste stream.

Why is flexible plastic packaging so popular?

This packaging—typically identified as “flexible plastic packaging” in the consumer product world—is displacing many other types of packaging due to its inherent attributes: It’s tough, provides terrific product protection in several innovative forms, can be made transparent so consumers can see the product, and is often re-sealable to retain product freshness, among other benefits.

What are the products that are packaged in plastic bags?

As you walk those grocery store aisles, you’ll notice that all sorts of other products once only sold in cans, jars, and boxes now also are packaged in flexible plastic pouches and bags. Nuts, dried fruits, trail mix, ethnic foods, spices, sugar, flour, baby formula and food, chocolate —even wine and some alcoholic beverages—today are packaged in lightweight, flexible plastic packaging.

Is lightweight plastic packaging good for the environment?

Plus, lightweight flexible plastic packaging typically has a lower environmental impact than alternatives. Less material = less impact. Lifecycle assessments provide compelling data about the environmental advantages of this packaging, primarily due to material efficiency. The thin, lightweight packaging creates a cascade of environmental advantages throughout the entire value chain—such as reduced energy use and greenhouse gas emissions—and avoids waste at the source.

Is tuna sold in cans?

Have you noticed that many “canned” foods are not sold solely in cans anymore? For example, tuna fish is sold in cans and flexible pouches. On your next trip to the grocery store, pick up one of these pouches and compare it to a can of tuna—the tuna and pouch combination weighs less. A steel can for five ounces of tuna weighs about 35 grams; a pouch weighs about 10 grams. So the pouch delivers the same amount of food with three and half times less packaging weight.

What is chemical recycling?

The main types of chemical recycling are solvolysis and thermolysis. A special type of chemical recycling is enzymatic depolymerization. The available processes for the depolymerization of rigid plastic packaging and nonpackaging films (e.g., agricultural films), fibers, foams, etc., can be equally applied to the depolymerization of flexible plastic packaging. Chemical recycling is a promising option to recycle mixed, multilayer, or other complex plastics. However, the technology is still at early stages of development and is not expected to be fully operational before 2025.

What are the stages of post processing of flexible plastic packaging?

This chapter examines the main stages of post-processing of flexible plastic packaging comprising size deduction using shredders and granulators ; mechanical cleaning including wet cleaning and dry cleaning for the removal of residual contamination; sorting of the different polymers by density/gravity techniques including float-sink, air sifting, hydrocyclones, and centrifuge; extrusion; blending including compatibilization and solid-state shear pulverization (SSSP); and compounding. In addition, it describes various recycled products disclosed in patent literature and reviews the available commercial uses of recycled flexible plastic packaging materials.

What is stripping solvent?

Stripping solvents are used for the dissolution or swelling of the interlayer binder (tie layer) and separation of the individual layers from a multilayer packaging film and/or chemical agents for the separation or delamination of the aluminum foil from plastic layers.

What are the different types of flexible plastic packaging?

The two main types of flexible plastic packaging are single film or monolayer and multilayer packaging . The main forms of flexible plastic packaging are bags, wraps, pouches and sachets, air pillows and envelopes, labels and sleeves, straps, tapes and six-pack rings, net bags, and woven bags. Flexible plastic packaging finds multiple uses in food and beverage, cleaning products, pharmaceuticals, medical, personal care and cosmetics, construction and building, e-commerce, and others.

What are the polymers used in flexible packaging?

Chapter 3 examines the main polymers used in flexible packaging as films, coatings, sealants, adhesives/tie layers, and inks, in terms of sustainability and recyclability. While there are many polymers utilized in the flexible packaging industry, the most common ones are polyolefins, including the various types of polyethylene and polypropylene, poly (ethylene terephthalate) (PET), and poly (vinyl chloride) (PVC), and secondarily polyamides, ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH), poly (vinylidene chloride) (PVDC), ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and ionomers. The used polymers are homopolymers, copolymers, or polymer blends, and are usually compounded with various additives (e.g., antioxidants, plasticizers, moisture absorbers, colorants, and the like) to improve certain properties of the flexible packaging materials.

Why is plastic packaging so bad?

One reason so much plastic packaging ends up in incinerators, landfills and oceans is that it isn’t designed to be recycled. MRF operators say they’re working with manufacturers to design packaging that can be recycled within the capabilities of the current system.

What is a tub made of?

These containers are usually marked with a 5 inside a triangle. Tubs are often made with a mix of plastic types. This can make it a difficult material for recyclers to sell to companies that would rather have a single type of plastic for their manufacturing. However, that’s not always the case.

What are recycling containers made of?

The containers are firm, they don’t flatten out like paper and they’re made from a kind of plastic that manufacturers can easily sell for making products such as carpet, fleece clothing or even more plastic bottles.

Why are recycling guidelines so specific?

Recycling guidelines can seem so particular because each facility is run differently. They have different equipment and different markets for their plastic, and those markets are constantly evolving.

What are the problems with plastic recycling?

Small plastics, roughly 3 inches or smaller, also can cause problems for recycling equipment. Bread bag clips, pill packaging, single-use condiment pouches — all of these small pieces get caught or fall between the belts and gears of the machinery at the MRF. They end up being treated as trash.

How many plastic bags are there in grocery stores?

There are approximately 18,000 plastic bag drop-off bins at major grocery store chains, including Walmart and Target, around the country. These retailers send the plastic to recyclers, who use the material in products such as composite decking. How2Recycle.

Why would there be no one to buy plastic pouches?

Even if pouches were collected and separated by recyclers, there would be no one to buy them because there aren’t yet products or end markets for which this type of plastic would be useful.

How many stores are there in the Flexible Plastic Fund?

In May, we joined the Flexible Plastic Fund initiative which has enabled us to roll out the trial to a total of 271 stores by expanding the materials accepted for recycling to include all flexible plastics, including laminates and pouches. By joining the Fund, we want to give our customers access to a flexible plastic recycling system that we can all have confidence in.

What is PP film used for?

In February we launched a trial across 63 stores in Northeast England, offering customers the opportunity to bring back packaging made from PP (Polypropylene) film for recycling - a type of plastic commonly used for items such as salad bags, frozen food bags and rice packaging.

Can you recycle flexible plastic?

Flexible plastic is currently not accepted by most councils in the UK, which means customers are unable to recycle it at home. Around just 16 per cent of UK councils offer recycling facilities for flexible plastics. In February we launched a trial across 63 stores in Northeast England, offering customers the opportunity to bring back packaging made …


At the end of a flexible package’s life it typically sends less material to landfills than other types of packaging. This is because it is so lightweight and requires much less material than other packaging to do the same job.

Improving Recycling Efforts

Many efforts are underway to overcome recovery and recycling challenges, including public and private collaborative programs that help educate consumers and put new processes in place. Others focus on developing new recycling technologies or more recyclable materials for use in flexible packaging.

Flexible Packaging Recycling Near You

Use the Terracycle database to find your best local recycling options for different kinds of flexible packaging (or anything else you would like to recycle).