Research carried out by Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF) has found that existing automated sorting technologies can be optimised to capture flexible plastic packaging, potentially producing a new stream of recovered materials.

The process is published in the Resource Recycling Systems (RRS) report, titled ‘Flexible Packaging Sortation at Materials Recovery Facilities’.

The research programme demonstrated that with sufficient screening and optical sorting capacity, flexible plastic packaging can be captured in a single-stream materials recovery facility (MRF).

"This study is shedding light on pathways that can be deployed to improve flexible packaging end-of-life options."

During the first phase of the research, baseline testing, equipment testing, and several recovery facility trials were conducted to test existing sortation technologies regularly used in MRFs, including screens and optical scanners.

PepsiCo discovery and sustainability foods packaging research and development director Brad Rodgers said: "Flexible packaging has many positive attributes, highly efficient, great product protection, and low environmental impact.

“However, recovery has been one of its weak points.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

"This study is shedding light on pathways that can be deployed to improve flexible packaging end-of-life options.”

US-based food, snack and beverage PepsiCo is a member of MRFF, which also includes Amcor, The Dow Chemical Company, LyondellBasell, Nestlé Purina PetCare and Nestlé USA, Plum Organics, The Procter & Gamble Company, SC Johnson, Sealed Air, and Target.

The collaboration also features Association for Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR), Flexible Packaging Association (FPA), SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association (SPI), and American Chemistry Council.

The next phase of the RRS research will concentrate on sorting technology, economic feasibility and evaluating end-use markets for the recovered materials.

It will also focus on developing a recovery facility demonstration project in the future.