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Hoffman Neopac has signed a partnership with Saperatec to begin recycling aluminum laminate composites upon its opening in mid-2023.
Hoffmann Neopac, a privately held company headquartered in Thun, Switzerland that produces metal and plastic packaging for pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and consumer goods manufacturers, has become the first tube manufacturer to sign a partnership with Saperatec, the first industrial recycling plant for aluminum laminate composites, on Feb. 22, 2022. Neopac will begin supplying its production waste to Saperatec upon the plant’s opening in mid-2023.
According to the press release, Europe produces approximately 11.5 billion tons of plastic, aluminum, and laminate tubes annually; 38% of this waste is laminate tubes, with the majority comprising aluminum barrier laminates (ABL). Currently, these tubes cannot be industrially separated and recycled in existing recycling facilities. Instead, they are usually downcycled, incinerated, or, depending on the country, dumped into landfills.
The technology spearheaded by Saperatec GmbH has demonstrated the ability to break down multilayer composite materials into their individual materials, enabling a high level of material recycling. Using a special washing technique, Saperatec separates plastic and aluminum layers without dissolving them. A spring 2021 laboratory study with various ABL tubes from Neopac showed that its Polyfoil tubes, for example, can be completely separated in this fashion.
After this separation process, the materials are sorted, which produces fractions of polyethylene and aluminum, which can be recycled to high quality in commercially available plants. This process will also make it possible to recycle composite materials made of aluminum and plastic with high recycling rates.
"In addition to the already existing environmentally friendly and recyclable tubes from our EcoDesign portfolio, we are committed to a recycling solution for our conventional Polyfoil ABL tubes. With this new initiative, we will offer our customers the best possible balance between product safety and sustainability," stated Peter Bossert, Head of Materials Development at Hoffmann Neopac AG, in the press release. "As early as this year, we will make a portion of our production waste available to Saperatec to demonstrate its recyclability on an industrial scale, per the promising laboratory tests that have been performed. With the pending recycling of ABL tubes, we are closing a recycling gap in our portfolio."
Source: Hoffmann Neopac