29 September 2020 by James Langley

Companies target plastic pouch recycling

Two recycling initiatives have been launched recently as companies seek to recycle the plastic pouches in which their products are sold. 

Dairy brand Yeo Valley Organic has joined Enval’s zero waste to landfill scheme, which provides a process for the recycling of laminate packaging.

And, packaging company Amcor and food company Nestlé have launched a recyclable retort pouch for pet food.

Yoghurt pouches

As of 21 September, customers who buy Yeo Valley Organic’s Little Yeos yoghurt pouches have been able to request a free recycling kit from the company’s website.

Enval will recycle Yeo Valley Organic’s Little Yeos yoghurt pouches

With Yeo Valley Organic having joined Enval’s Laminates League, the kit enables customers to send the pouch, minus the lid, in a pre-paid envelope to the Huntingdon-based plastic recycling company.

Tor Crockatt, commercial brand manager at Yeo Valley, said: “We know parents and carers want to buy the best for their babies and pre-schoolers and it’s important we provide the most convenient formats for them. Partnering with Enval means that we are preventing our Little Yeos organic pouches from ending up in landfill.

She added: “We want to ensure our products are as sustainable as possible. Joining Enval’s Laminates League enables us to increase our range of recyclable products without having to modify our packaging.”

Yeo Valley Organic estimates that by joining Enval’s scheme it will prevent 150,000 Little Yeos pouches from being landfilled or incinerated or finding their way into rivers and oceans.

Zero waste to landfill

Created by Enval in 2018, the Laminates League aims to raise awareness around the recyclability of laminate packaging.

“It’s a real vote of confidence for the Laminates League”

Dr Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, Enval

Enval says it uses a proprietary pyrolysis solution capable of handling low-density packaging waste to recycle each component of the pouches into materials that can be reprocessed and go back into circulation. The technology separates the plastic and aluminium from the pouches.

Enval’s CEO Dr Carlos Ludlow-Palafox said: “It’s a real vote of confidence for the Laminates League to see a company with the size and reputation of Yeo Valley Organic joining us. They are the largest brand to join the initiative so far, so we hope this will encourage brands of a similar size to consider how they can improve the recyclability of their products.”

“Our recycling scheme demonstrates to local authorities, FMCG brands and consumers that aluminates can be recycled using our technology. Now that the process has been successfully proven, our long-term goal is to work with local authorities, waste handlers and other contractors to develop and implement a proper collection and segregation system across the UK.”

Cat food

Meanwhile, Amcor and Nestlé are to launch a recyclable polypropylene retort pouch for wet cat food. The AmLite HeatFlex Recyclable line of pouches will first appear in shops in the Netherlands in October 2020.

Amcor and Nestlé are to launch a recyclable polypropylene retort pouch for wet cat food in the Netherlands in October 2020

The partners say they collaborated during the product development process, testing for heat resistance, machine performance, shelf-life and recyclability in the real world.

Michael Zacka, president of Amcor Flexibles EMEA, said: “Amcor and Nestlé together have been able to create a unique solution that for years was thought impossible.

“This high-barrier, high-heat resistant, packaging can be easily recycled within plastic recycling streams already existing in several European countries.”

Circular economy guidelines

Flexible retort packaging is a modern alternative to metal cans, the companies say.

They claim their new pouch meets the packaging guidelines for a circular economy published by the CEFLEX Consortium, a European consortium representing the value chain of flexible packaging. CEFLEX launched a set of guidelines to help the flexible packaging value chain design recyclable consumer packaging on 9 July.

Project coordinator and workstream consultant for CEFLEX Graham Houlder, said: “This is a great example of how – through innovation – companies can solve even the biggest challenges to recyclability.

“Recyclable retort packaging is a revolutionary advance and will have a huge impact in pet food and beyond.”

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