Enval launched Touchdown, a joint project with The Kraft Heinz Co. and Sonoco aimed at improving packaging sustainability and accelerating the deployment of novel plastic recycling solutions in the U.S. Enval reports the ultimate aim of the project is to see its first recycling plants in the U.S. These plants will be capable of recycling previously unrecyclable plastic packaging using the company’s unique proprietary pyrolysis technology for treating low-density packaging waste.
“We see a high-demand for recyclable packaging amongst our consumers, which matches our goal of offering more sustainable products. The company began a relationship with Enval in 2011 to help construct their first commercial-scale plant in the UK, and we are excited to also explore opportunities to advance packaging recycling with Enval in the United States,” says Linda Roman, head of packaging growth & technology at Kraft Heinz.
Enval’s process transforms plastics into oil feedstock to produce new plastic, effectively closing the loop on packaging recycling and therefore enabling previously unrecyclable packaging to become valuable and environmentally responsible. Furthermore, it is reportedly the only technology capable of recycling plastic aluminum laminates by splitting them into high-value oil and aluminum with a low-carbon footprint.
Dr. Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, CEO of Enval, says, “We’re thrilled to be working with two groups as important in the consumer packaged goods and packaging communities as Kraft Heinz and Sonoco. We’re convinced that it is only via these types of collaborations, which involve players at different stages of the supply chain, that new technologies such as ours can be deployed quicker. We must quickly establish new and better infrastructure to succeed in reducing plastic pollution and decreasing carbon emissions.”
The first phase of the project will involve Enval assessing the current disposal solutions for materials used by Sonoco and Kraft Heinz during the production and use respectively of flexible plastic packaging. At the end of the first phase, Enval will produce a feasibility study, which will include potential locations for future recycling plants. The company says this approach is possible because the Enval technology was conceived in a modular way, which ensures that economic viability of the process starts at a "small" scale — thanks to its low CAPEX.
Enval will then continue the project by building plants, which could initially target the treatment of scrap generated by Sonoco and Kraft Heinz, with the idea of incorporating post-consumer waste in the future.
“While flexible packaging has a low environmental footprint, we recognize that innovation is needed in recycling technologies to improve its end-of-life options. Sonoco believes the combination of product and recycling innovation will provide a compelling solution and we are happy to partner with Enval on this exciting project,” says Jeff Schuetz, staff VP of global technology, consumer packaging at Sonoco.