Boosting Recycling of Plastic Films for a European Circular and Climate-neutral Economy

The EU-funded CIMPA project united experts from across the European recycling value chain to tackle the mounting challenge of managing the more than 2.6 million tonnes of multilayer plastic films that are incinerated or landfilled.

Multilayer plastics consist of several layers of materials from plastics (PET, PE, PA) to aluminium and beyond. They are mostly used in packaging to enhance food safety and extend shelf life or in agriculture for crop protection, yet they pose challenges to recyclers.

A multistakeholder workshop hosted by EuRIC, the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation, took place on 3 November to discuss innovative solutions to overcoming thissocietal challenge. Preliminary results were presented, including more efficient techniques for sorting of multilayer plastics through digital watermarks & NIR, novel decontamination and upgrading processes, and enhanced physical recycling (dissolution).

Topics such as the future of EPR Schemes and how to incentivise product design, the impact of mandatory recycled content for plastic products and achieving better cooperation across the value chain were featured prominently at the workshop.

“European recyclers are committed to addressing the challenges posed by multilayer plastics. Innovation is key and the EU-funded CIMPA project will better enable us to upscale recycling for a truly circular and climateneutral economy”, stated Emmanuel Katrakis, Secretary General of EURIC.

“CIMPA’s initial results revealed very exciting results on decontamination, sorting and the upgrading of physical and mechanical recycling. The workshop also enabled us to collect input from external stakeholders”, noted Céline Chevallier, CIMPA coordinator and Materials Development Project Manager at IPC (France).

The CIMPA workshop was hosted by EuRIC and gathered 50 representatives from across the recycling value chain. The workshop coincided with CIMPA’s third General Assembly which took place on 2 November 2022. CIMPA – A CIrcular Multilayer Plastic Approach for value retention of end-of-life multilayer films– is an EU-funded, H2020 project, that will develop a recycling value chain for post-industrial and postconsumer multilayer films (from food and agricultural applications).

Source: EuRIC (Brussels, November 07, 2022)