Saperatec is currently building its first composite packaging recycling plant in Germany, based on its mechanical recycling process for thin-film composite materials with aluminum barriers.
Saperatec’s recycling process currently focuses on composite flexible packaging materials and packaging with aluminum barriers, as well as plastics and aluminum from beverage cartons. The company explains that the purpose of the process is to maintain the value of each material after separation.
According to Saperatec, the process adds no contaminants to the recycled polymers and all chemicals used in the process comply with European food contact regulations. The hot wash separation fluids used would be water-based and solvent-free, while being reused more than 30 times in the process.
The technology was funded by Henkel in 2019, with the collaboration aiming to scale the process faster than average research, development and commercialization times. The companies say the technology could enable future recyclability solutions for a wide range of composite packaging, such as materials that combine plastics with metal, glass and paper.
Saperatec adds that the delamination technology has been extensively tested in both materials science labs and near-industrial pilot environments, with evidence suggesting the process produces recycled materials that can replace virgin raw materials in applications. such as foil and foil based packaging.
The company says these “very encouraging results” are behind the construction of the multi-layer delamination recycling plant in Dessau, Germany. The facility is expected to start commercial operations in 2023 with the initial goal of processing around 18,000 tonnes of packaging waste per year.
Thorsten Hornung, CEO of Saperatec GmbH, comments: “After years of extensive research and extensive testing, we are delighted to build our first industrial-scale recycling plant, which will be operational next year.
“Our goal is to have a real and lasting impact on the circularity of composite packaging materials, which have proven notoriously difficult to separate and reuse.”
Saperatec will present the multi-layer delamination approach at the K Fair Trade Show in Düsseldorf from 19e at 26e of October. The company will discuss the technology’s recycling results and showcase prototypes in hall 9, stand D17.