UK's Dept. for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs funds study to boost recycling of flexible packaging containing aluminum; companies involved include Nestlé UK & Ireland, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Tesco UK, LRS Consultancy, Enval and SITA UK

LONDON , June 24, 2014 (press release) – LRS Consultancy (“LRS”), in partnership with Enval, SITA UK, Nestlé UK & Ireland, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Tesco UK, has received funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to scope out viable approaches for collecting flexible packaging materials containing aluminium, such as toothpaste tubes and pet food sachets, to improve recycling and the remanufacture of aluminium.

Flexible laminate packaging often contains valuable aluminium and various recyclable plastics, which can be difficult to collect and separate for recycling viably.

Funded by Defra’s Action Based Research programme, LRS is leading a consortium, which will undertake research to develop and trial new methods of recovering and treating flexible plastic and aluminium 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 behaviour 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 trialled.

Dee Moloney, Managing Director, LRS Consultancy, said, “Brands are increasingly using flexible laminate packaging to help preserve their products for longer, reduce the amount of material used in the manufacturing process and ‘lightweight’ their packaging. However, sometimes such initiatives result in unintended challenges for the resource management industry to manage and process these mixed-material products post use.

“The consortium is uniquely positioned to deliver this research and we are delighted to have received a good response from a broad range of interested parties who are keen to support the project."

“LRS, as lead, has a strong track record of managing action-based, resource efficiency research projects and, in particular, for delivering those with new recycling service provision.”

It is estimated that more than 160,000 tonnes of flexible laminate packaging, containing aluminium, enters the UK marketplace each year, including such items as food and beverage pouches, toothpaste tubes and pet-food sachets.

If the trials prove successful, and viable collection and recycling schemes are implemented, they could lead to significant carbon emission savings and benefit the secondary commodity market. Flexible packaging is becoming increasingly widespread and the global market is estimated to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.1%, from 2013 to 2018(*1).

Enval is a technology developer that has developed a unique process for recycling plastic laminates, containing aluminium. Dr Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, Managing Director, Enval, said, “Aluminium is a hugely valuable and versatile material so it's important that we capture and recycle as much of it as possible. We are delighted to be working with collection companies and brand owners to find the best way to collect flexible laminate packaging and establish increased recycling rates for this material as part of our commitment to the UK’s circular economy.”

Defra Fund

Developing and trialling new, more resource efficient, product offerings (Recovery of Aluminium from Flexible Packaging) - EV0547The fund is from Defra's Action Based Research programme, within the Resources, Atmosphere and Sustainability directorate.

This project’s goal is to assess the feasibility of including flexible packaging in existing household and commercial recycling schemes and recovering aluminium.

LRS Consultancy is leading a consortium consisting of: SITA UK (waste and recycling collections); Enval (reprocessing flexible packaging at their demonstration recycling facility), Nestlé (supporting the research by allowing the project to use their brands in communications), Coca-Cola Enterprises (supporting the research through its experience with communications and behaviour change) and Tesco UK (provision of recycling facilities and support with communications).

This research was commissioned and is funded by Defra. The views expressed reflect the research findings and the authors’ interpretation; they do not necessarily reflect Defra policy or opinions.

Objectives:

  • Assess the cost and operational feasibility of recovering aluminium from flexible packaging.
  • Understand public attitudes and behaviour regarding recycling of flexible packaging across different demographics.
  • Identify the effectiveness of behaviour change communication campaigns.

About LRS Consultancy

LRS Consultancy provides technical and strategic consultancy services to help organisations improve their resource efficiency to meet their financial and sustainability goals. The LRS team uses its expertise to guide clients through the following core areas:

  • Sustainable supply chains
  • Sustainable procurement
  • Product stewardship, producer responsibility and the circular economy
  • Behaviour change and stakeholder engagement
  • Waste treatment and technology and commercial market due diligence
  • Waste and recycling collections and modelling, resources management and materials quality

More information about LRS - www.lrsconsultancy.com
Connect with LRS on LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/company/lrs-consultancy
Follow LRS on Twitter - @LRSconsultancy

About Enval

Enval is a leader in recycling and environmental technologies. Enval develops unique recycling processes and specialist solutions to address environmental and regulatory challenges across industrial, commercial and municipal sectors to deliver value from waste. More information about Enval – www.enval.com

About SITA UK

SITA UK was established in 1988 and currently employs more than 5,500 people. Operating in over 300 locations throughout the UK – from household waste recycling centres, transfer stations and landfills, to energy-from-waste, recycling, composting and secure shredding facilities - SITA UK is able to provide an extensive range of managed services.More information about SITA UK – www.sita.co.uk

About Nestlé UK & Ireland

Nestlé UK & Ireland is a subsidiary of Nestlé SA, the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company www.nestle.com.
Nestlé is a major player within the UK and Irish food industry employing 8,000 employees across the 23 sites and produces some of Britain’s best loved brands, such as Kit Kat, Nescafé, Smarties, Buxton, Go Cat and Shreddies.
Nestlé is one of the UK and Ireland's food industry’s major exporters, exporting over £300m worth of products every year to over 50 countries around the world.
More information about Nestlé – www.nestle.co.uk

About Coca-Cola Enterprises Limited

Coca-Cola Enterprises makes, sells and distributes soft drinks for every occasion in Great Britain. Coca-Cola Enterprises sell more than four billion bottles and cans in Great Britain (GB) every year and make 97 per cent of these products in GB.More information about Coca-Cola Enterprises - www.cokecce.co.uk

About Tesco UK

Tesco UK has the largest operations within the Group, with over 3,300 stores and over 310,000 employees. Tesco wants to be a zero-carbon business by 2050 and to use scarce resources responsibly, including in its supply chain.More information about Tesco plc - www.tescoplc.com

*1 Flexible Packaging Market by End-Use (Food, Beverage, Personal Care & Pharmaceutical), Material (Polypropylene, BOPP, CPP, Polyethylene, EVOH, PA, BOPET, PVC, Aluminum, Paper, Cellulosic) - Global Trends & Forecast to 2018 Published by MarketsandMarkets in Nov 2013.

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