Recycling technology is the main priority for the packaging industry. In the past few years, there were many new ways of recycling method that had come up, such as increasing the recycling rate of aluminium cans, recycle plastic aluminium foil, efficient ways to recycle cartons etc.
Aluminium is one of the most future-proof packaging materials which have excellent barrier properties and recyclability. Hence, Europe is planning to develop more efficient recycling technologies for this material in the near future.
Recycling of plastic-aluminium laminate foil is one area which is been developing since many years.
Major players of packaging industry have started recognising the need to step up global aluminium recycling levels. In 2012, Novelis, the world leader in aluminium rolling had brought $250 million aluminium recycling and casting centre to its Nachterstedt plant in Germany. This new centre annually will enable to produce 400,000 metric tonnes of aluminium sheet from recycled material, hence it is considered as the largest aluminium recycling centre in the world.
Paper sludge is a waste product created from recycled paper, more than 25 million metric tonnes of which is accumulated annually worldwide. By converting the paper sludge, it not only benefits the environmental, but is also found useful for other industry sectors.
The process by which energy and minerals are obtained from deinking sludge is known as CTC (Controlled Thermal Conversion) technology. This technology converts paper sludge from packaging and other sources into thermal energy and valuable materials.
Mixed plastics recycling is another method used for recycling. In UK, mixed plastics recycling sector was opened in 2012. £15 million facility in the north Lincolnshire, UK will start using this advanced technology in order to integrate both plastic bottles and polymers processing. The facility is a joint-venture recycling operation between Coca-Cola Enterprises and ECO Plastics. Annually it is estimated that extra 15,000 tonnes of rigid plastic packaging will be recycled.
Even though in UK, around 50 per cent of plastic bottles are currently recycled, there are products such as yoghurt pots, dark plastic ready meal trays and protective film recycling is a major challenge.