The Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging (CEFLEX) – the collaborative initiative of a European consortium of companies representing the entire value chain of flexible packaging-  has recommended the use of recyclable mono-materials.

In its first position paper, CEFLEX pointed to collaborative effort towards a circular economy and stated the need to assess functional needs of packaging and, when required, to redesign the current flexible packaging to a recyclable mono-material.

CEFLEX stakeholders are collaborating with Swiss University ETH to collect and assess topics that play a crucial role in realising a circular economy for flexible packaging.

The consortium is of the view that, by working together, they can achieve sustainability goals, recyclability targets and avoid waste as well as pollution along the value chain.

CEFLEX said it will monitor any development in technology, recycling infrastructure and materials that may affect its recommendation.

CEFLEX project coordinator Graham Houlder said: “Ensuring packaging is designed to be recycled into new, valuable materials, or flows back into the economy, is a cornerstone condition for creating a circular economy.

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“More than 80% of flexible packaging is mono-material Polyethylene (PE) or Polypropylene (PP) and we can grow this further; which will improve conditions for investment in infrastructure and help create sustainable end markets for the recycled materials.”

As part of their efforts, CEFLEX stakeholders will also examine collection models for flexible packaging in a circular economy and release another position paper.

CEFLEX focuses on redesigning the multimaterial structures to monomaterial where possible. It expects that by 2025 there will be an established collection, sorting and reprocessing infrastructure/economy developed for post-consumer flexible packaging throughout Europe.