How to recycle laminated plastic packaging

Filed in Blog, Recycle by on December 6, 2013
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laminated-aluminium-plastic-packagingAhhh, the convenience of laminated foil packaging – we all love it, right?

Tiddles gets his favourite cat food in a handy pouch, you can grab a packet of crisps and your favourite bar of chocolate in the evening and you can send your kids off to school with a vitamin-C enriched drink. Your favourite coffee might come in it, dried fruit stays fresh in it and even curries and casseroles come swathed in it.

But when you’ve finished the goodies inside, what happens to the packaging?

At the moment most of it ends up in landfill or is incinerated. While the packaging is brilliant at keeping foods fresher for longer, once aluminium foil, paper and plastic have been laminated, there’s no easy way of getting them apart and recovering the materials.

According to WRAP we get through 139,000 tonnes of laminated packaging a year, which contains around 13,500 tonnes of valuable aluminium.

So is it time to give up crisps?

Well, there’s good news and bad news.

The good news is that in Cambridgeshire a site has been secured to build the world’s first commercial-scale plant for recovering this material. The patented process will enable 100% recovery of laminated plastic and aluminium packaging.

The bad news?

It’s not ready for us just yet..

However, there’s more good news!

SOME brands that use laminated foil packaging have teamed up with TerraCycle. TerraCycle collects difficult-to-recycle packaging and products and repurposes the material into affordable, innovative products such as tote bags, plant pots and even garden furniture.

Current brands on board include Kenco, Ellas Kitchen and McVities.

Check out their site and see what you could recycle today. You can even raise funds for your favourite charity or school at the same time!

What about you – have you given up a favourite product that comes in laminated foil or have you found an alternative brand?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

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