Coca-Cola Enterprises, Tesco and Nestlé UK & Ireland are among the companies that have received funding from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to develop viable approaches for collecting flexible packaging materials containing aluminum, such as toothpaste tubes and pet food sachets (pictured), to improve recycling and the remanufacture of aluminum.
Other partners involved include LRS Consultancy, recycling and environmental technologies firm Enval and waste and recycling company SITA UK.
Flexible laminate packaging often contains valuable aluminum and various recyclable plastics, which can be difficult to collect and separate for recycling viably.
Funded by Defra’s Action Based Research program, LRS is leading a consortium that will research and develop and trial new methods of recovering and treating flexible plastic and aluminum laminate packaging.
The initial scoping study will explore ways to increase the amount of flexible laminate packaging that is collected and recycled in England, and assess the feasibility of a range of collection and communication approaches for households and commercial premises within different regions of the country.
Dependent on the results of the scoping study, the consortium may go on to implement trials to test collection solutions for flexible packaging and provide insight as to how consumer behavior and attitudes influence collection models. Various collection methods would be assessed to ascertain the most effective solution for different demographics and locations.
The outcomes of the research would enable SITA, Enval and other industry stakeholders to evaluate the potential to include flexible packaging in mainstream recycling collections and assess the cost benefit of the different approaches trialed, LRS says.
Last year LRS and UK law firm Burges Salmon published a guide on how to become more resource efficient. A Practical Path to Resource Efficiency is aimed at manufacturers, retailers and brand managers, as well as their supply chain partners, to give them a better understanding of how resource efficiency can benefit them. It provides ideas about how to make better use of materials and energy, the firms say.