Recycling of Multilayer Packaging: Engineering Struggle or Technological Innovation?

The potential of recycling multilayer packaging in Europe is not an easy topic. The packaging solutions are popular with major food manufacturers due to product safety and particular suitability for branding. However, multilayer packaging is prone to numerous challenges related to sorting, separation, and delamination at the end-of-life phase.

How can we increase the rate and recycling quality of multilayer packaging? Are new technologies on waste sorting, layer separation, and material recovery suitable for the waste management sector in Germany? Industry experts discussed these questions in a multi-stakeholder workshop in Cologne in November 2022. At the ‘Packaging Club’ meeting, the CSCP presented new technologies currently under development in MERLIN, an EU-financed project. This included robotic units for detection and sorting of flexible and rigid packaging waste, chemical delamination of the various layers, and recovery of PE and PET monomers.

Waste managers, recycling companies, research institutions, and industry associations discussed the innovation potential of these technologies and critically reflected on the economic and technological feasibility of adopting them for use in the German waste management systems. This feedback from the participants is key for the MERLIN project to gauge the interest, concerns, and reactions of potential end-users to MERLIN products and will help the project align its research and development focus with the demand.

In the following months, the CSCP will co-organise further Packaging Club meetings with international experts around Europe to create a holistic view on MERLIN technologies.

Do you want to participate in the next Packaging Club meeting? Are you interested in the results and first insights of this meeting? Email and we will keep you updated!

For further questions, please contact Fiona Woo.