Laminated plastic packaging recycler Enval has called on international brands including Coca-Cola and Unilever to contribute £5m to help expand its operations.
Enval currently takes factory off-cuts and rejected plastic and aluminium laminate material for recycling at a single site in Cambridgeshire, using a patented process to separate the layers.
The company is looking to to set up four more facilities that would deal with both industrial scrap and post-consumer waste through local authority collection schemes.
In an open letter to 15 major laminate packaging producers, Enval chief executive Carlos Ludlow-Palafox told the companies to “put your money where your mouth is”, and argued that there was a “compelling business case” to make the investment.
Around five million tonnes of laminated packaging – including toothpaste tubes and pouches – is put on the market each year, but it is a notoriously difficult material to recycle.
Ludlow-Palafox warned: “Who knows when the public will wake up and object to laminate packaging, or when the Government will turn to pouches and tubes for its next environmental crusade?
“Backing the widespread deployment of our technology would show the world that you are serious about this.”
In April last year, a consortium of European companies including Unilever, PepsiCo and Nestlé set up the Ceflex project to increase flexible packaging recycling rates.
By 2025, Ceflex hopes to have developed infrastructure for the collection, sorting and reprocessing of post-consumer flexible packaging across Europe.
Ceflex said it had “grown dramatically” since the launch and the project now involves 56 participating stakeholders.
Co-ordinator Graham Houlder said: “Thanks to the significant number and broad base of stakeholders, plus strong collaboration, progress is being made in all workstreams. The newly released [EU] plastics strategy further underlines the relevance of the work Ceflex is doing.”
He added that laminate recycling needed broader support.
“Our goal is to get commitment and buy-in from the whole value chain including local authorities and regulators,” he said. “This is essential to ensure the broad-based adoption and implementation of what we are developing for flexible packaging in a circular economy.”