Increasing the Quality and Rate of Multilayer Packaging Recycling Waste

Tedious separation processes of multi-layer packaged products often hinder consumers from disposing such materials correctly. Yet, consumer demand for multi-layer packaging remains consistently high. The reasons are many: diverse and multiple layers allow for safer packaging of products, better preservation, and more powerful visuals. Despite its advantages, recycling multi-layered packaging is complicated with many difficulties related to sorting, separating, and re-joining. Given these impediments, the key question is: How can innovative multi-stakeholder approaches contribute to reducing multi-layer packaging waste and keeping materials in the loop?

The MERLIN project aims at increasing the rate and quality of multi-layer packaging recycling through multi-stakeholder engagement. By collaborating with key actors, such as technology providers, waste management companies, service providers, packaging companies, and a European packaging association, innovative solutions will be developed and tested. MERLIN will look to not only decrease the current amount of plastic packaging waste, but also to reduce the need for raw material use as well as increase the quality of packaging waste in line with the principles of the Circular Economy.

In MERLIN, the CSCP will map and analyse key stakeholders involved in the packaging waste recycling chain and engage them in an active and solution-oriented dialogue. Using a personas approach, the CSCP will ensure that all value chain actors are represented, along with their operational settings, relationship, interests and motivations.

In addition, the analysis will assess existing barriers and opportunities in multi-layer packaging waste collection, sorting, recovery, derivation of valuable products, and consumer acceptance.

Following the stakeholder mapping, in all MERLIN partner countries (Spain, Italy, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Croatia), the CSCP will establish Circular Economy Innovation Exchange Clubs to ensure a systematic engagement of all stakeholders. The clubs will provide a platform not only for knowledge exchange between partners and stakeholders, but also for validating innovations developed as part of the project.

The CSCP will develop a special methodology to qualify the good practices gathered during the project in order to facilitate the further sharing of knowledge between stakeholders. The CSCP will also facilitate the exchange of the technical know-how and the social innovations generated in the project by providing guidelines and policy recommendations.

The project is funded by the European Commission through its Horizon 2020 programme and will last until 2024.