LRS Consultancy in partnership with Enval, SITA UK, Nestlé UK & Ireland, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Tesco have received funding to scope out viable approaches for collecting flexible packaging materials.
This packaging often contains valuable aluminium and various recyclable plastics, which can be difficult to collect and separate for recycling.
LRS is leading the consortium, which is funded by Defra’s Action Based Research programme.
The initial scoping study will explore ways to increase the amount of flexible packaging, such as toothpaste tubes and pet food sachets, 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.
LRS Consultancy managing director Dee Moloney 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.”
It is estimated that more than 160,000 tonnes of flexible laminate packaging containing aluminium enters the UK marketplace each year.