The Flexible Packaging Association is leading an industry effort to address end-of-packaging life alternatives for flexible packaging. To summarize the association’s work to date, FPA has produced the brochure Flexible Packaging Resource Recovery: A work in Progress, which highlights the strengths and benefits of flexible packaging, including many sustainability benefits such as the use of fewer resources and generation of fewer emission during manufacturing.
The brochure discusses the different types of flexible packaging and the challenges around end-of-packaging–life of multi-material laminates, which represent only about 1.6% of municipal solid waste in the U.S.
Through its research, FPA has identified opportunities and challenges of existing and emerging options for flexible packaging waste. At present “no one disposal scenario is most favorable for flexible packaging waste across all environmental impact categories.”
The brochure discusses current waste-to-energy, mechanical recycling, and landfill options; and describes emerging resource recovery options, the most promising of which appears at this time to be pyrolysis. Other issues discussed include the challenges of collection, sortation, volume and market pull for the recovered energy feedstock.
The FPA will continue researching and exploring pilots to further advance development of emerging resource recovery technologies. For a copy of the report, and to learn more about FPA sustainability initiatives, please visit www.flexpack.org and view Sustainable Packaging.
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