These reports detail the technological challenges and market opportunities involved in recycling aluminium plastic laminated tubes and pouches.

  • It could be possible to access one-third of the total laminated packaging disposed by households, in co-mingled kerbside collections, following a publicity campaign by a waste collection authority
  • By taking laminated packaging as a targeted material into a MRF, there could be a marginal revenue increase of £35/tonne in gate fees to the MRF

There are a range of different laminated materials however in this work and laminated packaging is used to refer to plastic/aluminium laminates used in a range of packaging formats, including pouches, bags and tubes, for the packaging of consumer goods such as food, drinks, pet foods, toothpastes, and cosmetic products. 

The work concluded that there were no insurmountable technical obstacles to separating laminated packaging from residual household waste using one or more separation technologies. The net revenue from recycling laminated packaging currently appears to be lower than the cost of separation which suggests that, at the present time, separating laminated packaging from residual household waste is unlikely to be considered financially viable as a stand-alone activity. However there is a financial driver for separation in the enhancement of the value of the non-ferrous (aluminum) stream by removing contamination.

Recycling of laminated packaging

Post-consumer laminated packaging is not a targeted material and is not currently recycled in the UK. A UK company developed a process for recycling laminated packing using microwave pyrolysis, generating aluminium scrap and hydrocarbons in the form of both condensable (liquid) and non-condensable (gaseous) products. WRAP commissioned a project to undertake a trial of the process and assess its viability, including a technical assessment of the properties of laminated packaging and the recycling process.

Recovery of laminated packaging from black bag waste

WRAP then looked at the possibility of extracting laminated packaging from residual 'black bag' waste and looked in more detail at the practical feasibility of including the process into the waste recycling infrastructure.

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  • WRAP-Recovery of laminated packaging from black bag waste.pdf

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  • WRAP-Recycling of laminated packaging.pdf

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