PRoLiFEx project rewarded with a nomination at the Plastics Recycling Awards Europe 2022
Household plastic waste finds new application in high-quality flexible packaging
The recycling of plastic is taking off at a good pace, but most applications for which household waste is used are thick-walled items, such as waste bins or park benches. The majority of recycled film nowadays originates from industrial waste, which is a cleaner stream. Project PRoLiFEx (Postconsumer Recycling of L(L)DPE in Flexible Extrusion, supported by the Dutch Government through the Innovation Fund RVO-JIP TEEI118007) aimed to turn the mix of various flexible packaging in household waste into high-quality new film, and thus be one of the first demonstrations of such a circular approach for flexible packaging.
The partners Attero, TUSTI, Pokon Naturado, Oerlemans Packaging Group, EGEN, Eindhoven University of Technology and Dow Benelux B.V. have succeeded in developing a compost bag consisting of 65% recycled material (PCR) and 35% virgin plastic. In addition, the PCR comes entirely from the intended household waste source. This packaging was recently introduced in the context of the Dutch National Compost Day. The packaged material, the compost, also comes from waste, namely organic waste, which makes the entire concept circular.
The plastic film mix in household waste includes, amongst others, fruit and vegetable packaging, bags for frozen food, animal food, compost, fertilizer, lunch bags, shrink wrap of e.g. the 6-pack soft drink bottles, grocery bags, plastic film around electronic items or flexible packaging from e-commerce. All these items can be contaminated by other residue in the mixed waste bin. That makes the re-use of such recycle stream a challenging endeavor.
Innovation and sound science at the service of sustainability
The complementarity of the partners has been key to the success of this project. For example, the quality of the PCR, the properties of the co-extruded film, and the applicability of the final packaging have been optimized: innovation and sound science at the service of sustainability. The main Dow contributions were twofold. First, Dow provided advanced characterization of the PCR. Second, we contributed to the optimization of the film structure for the bag through blown film experiments.
Nominated at the Plastics Recycling Awards Europe 2022
We are proud that the PRoLiFEx project is rewarded with a nomination at the Plastics Recycling Awards Europe 2022 in the category Plastic Packaging Product of the Year. Judged on design innovation with recycled content and design for recycling. Read here for more information here.