Following a value-chain collaboration to deliver the CEFLEX ‘Designing for a Circular Economy’ guidelines for polyolefin-based structures, work has begun to provide similarly effective guidance to improve the circularity of flexible packaging containing aluminium foil.
The new guidelines’ development coincides with an extensive programme of testing to improve understanding and design guidance for flexible packaging being conducted by CEFLEX with support from UK Research and Innovation.
The project is in collaboration with FPE, EAFA, and other leading participants—including non-CEFLEX stakeholders—who are providing additional technical and operational experience. A working group including representatives of the full value chain for flexible packaging containing aluminium foil began work in spring 2022.
“While plastic-based flexible packaging applications are predominant and an important focus, CEFLEX has always been material-neutral; working to analyse and achieve the best technical and environmental outcomes for all flexible packaging. This includes structures containing aluminium foil, and we are delighted to be addressing this important element with key organisations and players from across the value chain,” explains CEFLEX coordinator Graham Houlder.
Key questions on the sortability and recyclability of flexible packaging containing aluminium foil will be included in the CEFLEX design testing programme and will enrich the design guidelines. This includes fully understanding the technical capabilities of eddy current separation, the aluminium recycling pyrolysis pathway and advanced separation technologies, which have already been highlighted for specific attention.
“Flexible packaging containing aluminium foil is particularly valuable in lightweight, high-preservation packs often found in dairy, dry-food, pharmaceuticals, pet food, and more. Working with a large number of stakeholders across the value chain and informed by cutting-edge testing results is an inspiring starting point for the ‘Designing for a Circular Economy’ aluminium foil containing guidelines. We are confident they will further accelerate and pinpoint innovation and progress being made to improve the design, collection, sorting and recycling of this packaging format and boost its circular credentials,” said Guido Aufdemkamp, Executive Director of the European Aluminium Foil Association.
The guidelines will be developed, refined and validated by a range of stakeholders and are pencilled in for release in summer 2023.