The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) and the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners have announced FlexPack Recovery Challenge, which invites entrepreneurs and early-stage technology innovators to showcase their recovery technologies for fast-growing category of hard-to-recycle plastic packaging.
The idea for the challenge began in the SPC's Industry Leadership Committee on Multi-Material Flexible Recovery, a working group comprised of major brands, plastic manufacturers, and packaging suppliers who jointly recognize the opportunity for new recovery technologies.
Multi-material flexible packaging - which can consist of upwards of nine layers of plastics, aluminum, adhesives, paper, and other substrates - is widely used for a number of household products including pet food bags, confectionary wrappers, and chip bags and represents the fastest growing segment within the packaging industry. It tends to provide advantages in cost, material efficiency, and low emissions intensity, but the same characteristics that make it lightweight and effective also present hurdles for recyclers and other recovery outlets.
"A system of sustainable packaging requires an effective, robust means of recovering the inherent value in all packaging waste, and novel, potentially unheard of recovery solutions will be needed to complete the sustainability story for this important packaging category," commented Adam Gendell, Associate Director, Sustainable Packaging Coalition.
Few technologies exist that can beneficially recover the embodied environmental investment within multi-material flexible packaging, and the FlexPack Recovery Challenge aims to uncover and showcase new technologies that can be scaled to provide meaningful solutions.
Submissions in the FlexPack Recovery Challenge will be accepted until December 15, 2018, and participation is open to any start-up, university, or individual entrepreneur with a pilot-ready reprocessing technology that can recover multi-material flexible packaging in a way that is environmentally beneficial, economically productive, and socially just.