Estado de México



Multilayer Film to Film Recycling Using Dynamically Selected Reactive Additives

Recycling multi-layer packaging (20% of flexible films) by direct mechanical recycling is not feasible because the layers are not compatible between them. We've developed additives that maximize the compatibility between up to seven layers, allowing them to be recycled in the formulation of a new injection molded part or film.

Each day, better collection rates of flexible films are achieved, more recycling facilities with better sorting capabilities are setup in different regions and that the main problem is and will be to find a way to reuse these materials.

Polyethylene streams are "easily" recycled, in contrast to non-PE flexible films. The main problem recycling non-PE flexible films fraction are the multilayered flexible films (MFF).

Among the approaches taken to take care of MFF, the less polluting solution is mechanical recycling. This approach typically requires the use of compatibilisers to enhance the interaction between different polymers. Two perceived disadvantages are: 1) To add the optimal amount of compatibiliser, the composition of the input has to be known. 2)  Compatibilisation only adds one additional life cycle to the polymer and thus it does not promote a circular economy.

At Rheomod we can synthesize just the correct additive using a "Lego" approach in which, if each constituent in the MFF would be a different colour Lego brick, we would assemble a "multicolour" structure to interact with each constituent efficiently.  

Our approach in post-consumer flexible film is to analyze the MFF stream obtained at the recycling facility and to create specific compatibiliser(s) to allow the reuse of these streams mainly into film applications and where not possible, into injection molded parts. The MFF stream would be analyzed using Fast-middle-infrared, and when the composition changes significantly, a new batch would be collected, for which another set of additives would be used. The films obtained, can be incorporated into the centre layer for some applications or used directly for general purpose non-food contact films. These new films would form part of future recycled streams in which the amount and type of compatibiliser would be adjusted again for a new cycle of use.

Lead organization region / continent
North America
Location of future work
North America
Solution type
Physical Recycling