Waste firms or producers looking to recycle their laminate packaging waste such as drink cartons, toothpaste tubes and coffee sachets can now test this at a new engineering facility in Luton.
Privately funded environmental technology solutions firm Enval has opened the new pilot plant in the town. The company, originally a spin-out from the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Cambridge, has its headquarters and an existing facility in Cambridge which has been carrying out testing for the past 12 months. It says these tests have shown that laminate packaging - which has proved challenging to recycle - can now be completely recycled in a sustainable and economic way.
The Enval process claims to separate the aluminium from the "plastic" laminates, so recovering 100% of the aluminium, while converting the plastics into usable oils and gases.
Enval chairman Martin Lamb said: Flexible packaging systems based on plastic/aluminium laminates are widely used because of their many positive attributes, but the absence of a viable recycling process for them is a major drawback and is creating an increasing landfill problem.
This additional facility will allow Enval to rapidly scale its operations and will be used to demonstrate the ability of the Enval pilot-plant to operate continuously on significant volumes of waste.