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Setting a Baseline for Innovations in Multi-Layer Plastic Packaging Recycling

With a yearly volume of over 3 million tonnes, which is about 17% of all plastic packaging in the European Union, multi-layer plastic packaging waste is a significant part of the current waste stream. A circular plastics economy reduces the environmental issue of multi-layer plastic waste. This baseline study sets the foundation for future innovations and solutions within the scope of our MERLIN project.

By 2030, the EU will ban single-use plastics that are not reusable or recyclable. Multi-layer plastic packaging is known for its excellent packaging characteristics that both protect as well as brand goods of daily use. This packaging segment is especially affected by the ban since its advantages come with trade-offs on the recyclability and separation of compounded plastic fractions. It will be an uphill challenge to develop the technology that can meet the 80% recycling target for plastic packaging. The EU Plastics Strategy and the Circular Economy Action Plan lay it out clearly: the incineration and littering of plastic packaging have to come to a stop. For this to happen, relevant actors need to come together and find solutions to reuse and recycle multi-layer plastic packaging.

This is at the core of our Horizon 2020 project, MERLIN. As part of the project, the CSCP conducted a baseline study that assesses the status quo of today’s multi-layer plastic packaging sector. The study maps out the pathways to collection, sorting, delamination and recycling. The CSCP engaged relevant stakeholders and analysed the motivations, barriers and opportunities of the entire value chain with the input of the MERLIN consortium. Please go to our library to download the full baseline study.

In autumn 2022, the CSCP will launch the MERLIN packaging club, a platform for stakeholders and industry experts to foster collaboration and create solutions for successful recycling in a circular plastics economy.

For further questions, please contact Fiona Woo.

Photo by The Organic Crave Company on Unsplash.