Flexible packaging makes up 32% of consumer plastic packaging waste in the UK. Over 560,000 tonnes of flexible packaging – food wrappers, pouches, carrier bags and peelable lids – is landfilled each year.
The collection, sorting and reprocessing of post-consumer flexible packaging is in its infancy and presents a number of technical and commercial challenges.
The REFLEX (Recycling of Flexible Packaging) Project is a collaborative R&D project co-funded by Innovate UK. The project aims to create a circular economy for flexible packaging.
We are exploring ways of increasing the recyclability of flexible packaging by targeting each step in the supply chain – pack design, manufacture, sorting and reprocessing. We aim to develop:
- new innovative packaging designs;
- techniques to make blended polymers from flexible packaging which perform in new uses; and
- improved identification and sorting of recyclable flexible packages from the waste stream.
The project is an example of the whole supply chain working together: leading brands, polymers producers, packaging converters, recycling companies and technology suppliers.