Multi-material flexible packaging is material-efficient, lightweight and low impact, but its inability to be effectively recycled or otherwise recovered in an environmentally beneficial manner has always been its Achilles’ heel. This can be a deal breaker for the brands that find themselves under increasing pressure to use packaging not destined for the landfill, and despite all of its advantageous sustainability characteristics, there is no easy fix for this challenge. However, a new resource from the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) provides a full scope of the projects currently underway to address recovering this packaging format.
The SPC’s new web-based resource (www.multi-materialflexiblerecovery.squarespace.com) is the first to collect and analyze all current work in the multi-material flexible packaging recovery space, showing the breadth and depth of activity around the globe. On the site, projects are tagged according to the stages of the recovery process they touch: package design, waste collection, sortation, reprocessing technology and/or end market demand. To draw conclusions from the sum of the parts, the SPC created a summary of lessons learned, giving key insights as they relate to each phase of recovery.