Flexibles producer partners with chemical recycler

Scholle IPN, a supplier of flexible packaging solutions, has created a partnership with OBBOTEC, a Netherlands-based plastics firm specialising in chemical recycling technologies.

Together, the companies will work to develop viable recycling streams for flexible packaging. Through this partnership, the two companies will work to engineer and test new chemical recycling methods with a focus on flexible packaging like pouches and bag-in-box.

Specifically, OBBOTEC’s developments in integrated hydro-pyrolysis and selective plastics extraction methods provide solutions for the growing plastics waste management problem and minimal circularity of plastics packaging.

Ross Bushnell, chief executive of Scholle IPN, said: “The team at Scholle IPN is focused on the sustainable supply of films, fitments, and equipment for flexible liquid packaging. We do that by engineering our products to align with the key principles of circular economics: source reduction, material reuse, and recycling.

“The packaging industry has much work to do in order to achieve true circularity, but we believe that the technology and processes OBBOTEC employs will help us to significantly improve in this area and, in turn, to make positive strides with respect to our impact on Earth’s climate and resources.”

Wouter van Neerbos, chairman of OBBOTEC, added: “OBBOTEC is a pioneer of two game-changing technologies, SPEX and Hydrocat. With SPEX technology, or Selective Plastic EXtraction, we employ a dissolution process to recycle in a circular manner. We create a plastics-to-plastics system using both PE and PP materials, delivering high-quality yields while using minimal energy throughout the process.

“Our SPEX method of recycling can even deal with the most difficult materials like mixed plastics, multilayer films, laminates, and foils; upgrading the resulting material into near-virgin plastics granules again.

“Hydrocat technology is a third-generation hydrocracking process, which turns a mix of biological and plastics waste into distillates such as marine gas oil and naphtha crude oil. Hydrocat helps us take products which might normally end up in landfills and turn them into useable fuel products.”

Bushnell summarised the next steps for the partnership: “Scholle IPN and OBBOTEC have begun sharing important scientific data and will soon begin joint trials that push a wide range of film and fitment products through these exciting technologies. The resulting analysis will help both companies develop next-generation solutions that can truly move the needle toward a circular economy in flexible packaging.”