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A CIrcular Multilayer Plastic Approach for value retention of end-of-life multilayer films

With 2.6Mt of multilayers films waste incinerated or landfilled every year due to a lack of economically and environmentally sustainable recycling solutions, more than €3B multilayer plastic films value is lost to the economy every year.
Innovative solutions are thus absolutely essential to turn a mostly linear way of managing this waste stream into a fully circular one.

‘The EU-funded CIMPA project wants to create an economy in which multilayer plastic films never become waste’ stressed Celine Chevallier from IPC which coordinates the project.

In concrete terms, the purpose of CIMPA is to develop a recycling value chain for post-industrial and post-consumer multilayer films (from food and agricultural applications) to retain from 12% up to 72% of their value yield based on a synergetic approach combining

  1. innovative compositional sorting (combining NIR- and digital watermarking sorting),
  2. mechanical and physical (dissolution) recycling,
  3. decontamination process and
  4. upgrading (advanced scCO2-based decontamination, properties tuning) solutions. Up to 2.34Mt/y of recycled materials will be saved and reintroduced in production to substitute virgin materials.

A key objective of the overall process will be to produce recycled materials compliant with (i) agriculture standards and (ii) food contact applications. CIMPA will retain in the economy €0,3B to €2,2M/y of multilayer plastic films value, and reduce CO2 emissions by 2.1Mt/y equivalent to 0.15% of whole EU CO2 emissions.

Coordinated by IPC – Centre Technique Industriel de la Plasturgie et des Composites – CIMPA’s Partners gather 4 experienced Research & Technology Organisations (IPC, AIMPLAS, VTT, TNO), 2 technology-providers (PELLENC, FILIGRADE), 1 waste management and recycling company (PAPREC), 3 multilayer producers (LEYGATECH, EVERSIA, BARBIER), 1 institute for consumer attitude/acceptance studies (PROSPEX Institute), 1 association representing the plastic recycling industry (EuRIC) and 1 consultant company (BENKEI).

Through the development of innovative recycling solutions for multilayer films, CIMPA will contribute to the achievement of the objectives set by the European Green Deal, the new Circular Economy Action Plan and the EU Plastics Strategy.