According to the Flexible Packaging Association, flexible packaging accounts for 18% of the $145 billion American packaging market. Currently there is no closed loop system to handle recycling flexible packaging constructed of multi-layer high-barrier films. Recycling multi-layered flexible packaging involves more steps than recycling traditional packaging; each layer must be separated, analyzed, identified and recycled individually.
Some manufacturers are implementing the cradle to cradle concept by using eco-friendly material that biodegrades, biodegradable bio-based plastics or techno-friendly materials that can be recycled without being altered.
Currently the best solution for multi-layered packaging waste is pyrolysis, as there is no adequate solution to recycle plastic components into other plastic materials. Pyrolysis is a thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen (or any halogen). It involves the simultaneous change of chemical composition and physical phase, and is irreversible. Research still needs to be done to develop a way to convert the carbon liquid fuel into an energy source.
Source: Packaging Digest
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