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Industry Partnership Launches Innovative Project to Demonstrate Value Creation From Recycling Household Flexible Plastic Waste
October 28, 2022

This solution will be a blueprint for a new generation of infrastructure and investment to significantly boost the transition to a circular economy, providing high quality recycled materials from household waste for use in a range of circular products in high demand

Singapore, 28 October 2022—The Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging (CEFLEX) and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance), with support from consultants Roland Berger and HTP Engineering, today announced a collaboration to demonstrate a commercial scale solution to address hard-to-recycle flexible plastic derived from household waste. The ValueFlex model, based on a concept developed by CEFLEX, integrates state-of-the-art sorting with high-quality processing in a modular and flexible approach to maximise value from flexible plastic packaging waste.

Flexibles are one of the fastest growing plastic packaging categories, but recycling rates remain very low. Mechanical recycling is challenging due to the lightweight, complex, and often food contaminated nature of such materials. To date, solutions are generally limited to processing material recovered through segregated collection of plastic bags and films used for product delivery in retail and commercial supply chains. In countries without adequate waste management infrastructure, flexible plastic packaging makes up a disproportionate amount of waste entering and accumulating in the environment.

Having proven the ValueFlex concept for recycling post-consumer flexible plastic waste through extensive semi-industrial trials, the project is now moving to the next phase of development—to demonstrate the solution at commercial scale. To achieve this, the Alliance and CEFLEX are inviting expressions of interest (EOI) to partner in developing a first-generation ValueFlex facility, with a 50,000-tonne annual processing capacity. The plant will be based in Europe and aims to be operational by 2025.

According to the pre-feasibility study conducted by Roland Berger, the solution will be a key enabler to meet market demand for high quality post-consumer recyclates from mechanical recycling and to provide fit-for-purpose feedstocks for chemical recycling. The study further demonstrates a positive business case that is expected to catalyse further investment in sorting and recycling solutions for flexible packaging. This first-generation commercial implementation will provide a blueprint for replication.

“Flexible plastic packaging is one of the more challenging types of material to process and recycle, and there are urgent calls to accelerate solutions in this space,” said Nicholas Kolesch, Vice President of Projects for the Alliance. “The ValueFlex concept has tremendous potential to support a circular economy for plastic waste by enabling the recycling of household flexible packaging waste at scale and fulfilling the burgeoning demand for high quality post-consumer recyclate.”

Through its support for the ValueFlex concept, the Alliance is demonstrating its commitment to developing and de-risking solutions to acute challenges that can then be scaled by industry and deployed across the world.

“By improving the value and flexibility of sorting and recycling processes for polyolefin-based flexible packaging, we can support market demand for high quality post-consumer recyclates from mechanical recycling and feedstocks for chemical recycling,” said Martyn Tickner, Chief Advisor for Circular Solutions at the Alliance.

“Today, we have a fresh technical and operational proposal and are launching a call for expressions of interest for investors and partners to build and operate a first-generation commercial-scale ValueFlex plant. Together, the project partners will work with successful bidders providing expertise and relevant support to make it happen,” said Dana Mosora, Workstream Consultant at CEFLEX.

The application window for EOI is now closed.