Scrunchable, robust and versatile – flexible packaging for potato chips, fruit juices, coffee, detergents and even adhesives are an attractive proposition. However, these so-called laminates have the disadvantage that they are sometimes difficult to return to the economy. Why? Many flexible packages consist of different layers of material that, although bonded together, are disparate, largely incompatible and essentially non-miscible. In order to be efficiently processed and recycled, therefore, they need to be separated.
Working closely with partners from the packaging industry, Henkel Adhesive Technologies has taken up this challenge – as explained by Alexander Bockisch, Market Development Manager Flexible Laminates: “There are several hurdles to overcome at the various stages in the chain that extends from sorting to recycling plastic laminates. Our solutions can help increase recyclability of post-industrial waste from packaging manufacturers as a first step.” Adhesive Technologies sees three different approaches to increasing the recycling rate: The development of multilayer composites made of compatible materials, the separation of incompatible layers after use, and the application of compatible coatings instead of incompatible plastic laminates.