Global consumer goods company Unilever, along with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV, has developed a new application for recycling plastic sachet waste.

Named CreaSolv Process, the technology is inspired by an innovation used to recycle TV sets and adapted from a method that separates brominated flame retardants from waste electrical and electronic equipment polymers.

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During the process, the plastic is recovered from the sachet and then used to create new sachets for Unilever products, offering a full circular economy approach.

The initiative is a part of Unilever’s goal of making its plastic packaging fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Unilever research and development (R&D) chief officer David Blanchard said: “Billions of sachets are used once and just thrown away, all over the world, ending up in landfill or in our waterways and oceans.

"We intend to make this tech open source and would hope to scale the technology with industry partners, so others – including our competitors – can use it.

“There is a clear economic case for delivering this. We know that globally $80-120bn is lost to the economy through failing to properly recycle plastics each year. Finding a solution represents a huge opportunity.

"We believe that our commitment to making 100% of our packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable will support the long-term growth of our business."

“We believe that our commitment to making 100% of our packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable will support the long-term growth of our business.”

Unilever is also planning to establish waste collection schemes to channel the sachets to be recycled.

The company is currently working with local waste banks, governments and retailers to test the collection process.

In addition, Unilever is set to open a pilot plant in Indonesia later this year to test the long-term commercial viability of the CreaSolv technology.

Image: Collection of plastic sachet waste. Photo: courtesy of Unilever.