According to Covestro, flexible packaging made from several layers of film enables the hygienic and safe storage of many foods. However, the versatile packaging has a problem: sustainable disposal. After use, the bonded films in the material mix are difficult to separate from one another – and that is why such flexible packaging is unfortunately only partially recyclable.
Covestro has identified the problem – and has developed a process for recycling companies and packaging manufacturers to address this problem: In the case of multi-layer film packages laminated with polyurethane adhesive, the respective materials can be separated from one another again thanks to the new technology.
In the process, a special separation agent specifically weakens the bond strength of the PU adhesive. Since the separation agent consists of natural ingredients and water, it is also very sustainable, said Covestro. For packaging manufacturers and recyclers, the process offers a major advantage: „Our know-how helps them to make better use of the residual value of their packaging and thus makes more materials available to the recycling industry,“ said Thomas Fait. The New Business Development Manager for Adhesives at Covestro has led the development of the technology on a laboratory scale. „With projects like this, we contribute to achieve our corporate vision: to make the circular economy a reality. For this purpose, we work with partners from a wide variety of fields and industries and are always looking for ways how our products and technologies can help other companies become circular.“