Work underway on circular economy guidelines for flexible packs containing aluminium foil

CEFLEX has announced it is working with Flexible Packaging Europe, the European Aluminium Foil Association, and other key actors on ‘Designing for a Circular Economy’ guidelines for flexible packaging containing aluminium foil.

Following a value-chain collaboration to deliver the CEFLEX ‘Designing for a Circular Economy’ guidelines for polyolefin-based structures, work is now underway to introduce guidance to improve the circularity of flexible packaging containing aluminium foil.

The development coincides with a programme of testing to improve understanding and design guidance for flexible packaging being conducted by CEFLEX with support from UK Research and Innovation.

The project is in collaboration with FPE, EAFA and other participants – including non-CEFLEX stakeholders providing additional technical and operational experience. A working group including representatives of the full value chain for flexible packaging containing aluminium foil began work in spring 2022.

“While plastic-based flexible packaging applications are predominant and an important focus, CEFLEX has always been material-neutral; working to analyse and achieve the best technical and environmental outcomes for all flexible packaging,” said CEFLEX coordinator Graham Houlder. “This includes structures containing aluminium foil, and we are delighted to be addressing this important element with key organisations and players from across the value chain.”

Questions on the sortability and recyclability of flexible packaging containing aluminium foil will be included in the CEFLEX design testing programme. This includes understanding technical capabilities of eddy current separation, the aluminium recycling pyrolysis pathway, and advanced separation technologies.

Guido Aufdemkamp, executive director of the European Aluminium Foil Association, added, “Flexible packaging containing aluminium foil is particularly valuable in lightweight, high-preservation packs often found in dairy, dry-food, pharmaceutical, pet food and more. Working with a large number of stakeholders across the value chain and informed by cutting-edge testing results is an inspiring starting point for the ‘Designing for a Circular Economy’ aluminium foil containing guidelines.

“We are confident they will further accelerate and pinpoint innovation and progress being made to improve the design, collection, sorting and recycling of this packaging format and boost its circular credentials.”

The guidelines are pencilled in for release in summer 2023.