Technical and strategic consultancy services provider LRS Consultancy has secured funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to lead a consortium which will undertake research to develop and trial new methods of recovering and treating flexible plastic and aluminium laminate packaging.
The consortium includes Enval, SITA UK, Nestlé UK & Ireland, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Tesco UK. It will seek out possible approaches for collecting flexible packaging materials such as toothpaste tubes and pet food sachets which contain aluminium.
New methods will initially be explored to increase the amount of flexible laminate packaging that is collected and recycled in England. The feasibility of a range of collection and communication approaches for households as well as commercial premises within different regions of the country will also be assessed.
Upon obtaining the results, the consortium may implement trials to test collection solutions for flexible packaging, while providing insight as to how consumer behaviour and attitudes influence collection models.
Depending on the research outcome, SITA, Enval and other industry stakeholders will be able to evaluate the potential to include flexible packaging in mainstream recycling collections.
LRS Consultancy managing director Dee Moloney said that in order to help preserve their products for longer, reduce the amount of material used in the manufacturing process and 'lightweight' their packaging, brands are increasingly using flexible laminate packaging.
"However, sometimes such initiatives result in unintended challenges for the resource management industry to manage and process these mixed-material products post-use," Moloney added.
Image: LRS will scope out viable approaches for collecting flexible packaging materials containing aluminium. Photo: courtesy of aopsan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.