Recycling Optimization of Recyclable Packaging

From the perspective of packaging form and application, flexible packaging can achieve plastic and carbon reduction, multi-layer barrier, ensure product quality and reduce food waste.

From the perspective of appearance, it can attract consumers through printing.

However, from the perspective of recycling, some packaging designs are shortcomings, such as multi-layer barriers, additives, ink printing, adhesives, etc., which are the reasons for the low recycling value of soft packaging.

How to realize the recycling of flexible packaging?

When discussing how to recycle a non-recyclable packaging form or plastic, we usually have two ways of thinking. One way is to consider whether such packaging or plastic can enter the existing recycling stream; The other is to consider whether to establish an independent soft packaging recycling stream.

1. Enter the existing large-scale film recycling stream

At present, the relatively complete film recycling streams, such as PE film, have a complete set of recycling systems. The vast majority of recycled materials are relatively single. The pollutants mainly come from soil, dust, and some simple labels. The technologies for these materials are relatively consistent: crushing, cleaning, drying, granulation. Downstream applications are also large-scale, and different film grades will be applied in different fields.


Can the flexible packaging enter the existing recycling stream? In fact, there is still a gap. If the design of flexible packaging is different from the existing film recycling stream, the enterprise will also question “why should I add flexible packaging to my recycling stream, what are the advantages, and whether there is any loss of economic value”.


It is challenging if flexible packaging is to enter the existing recycling stream. Difficulties of flexible packaging entering the existing recycling stream:


  • The sorting of existing films mainly depends on manual work, and there is no suitable equipment for sorting;


  • It mainly recycles colorless films, such as agricultural films and packaging films, which are less tolerant to other impurities.


  • The impurity film is mainly PE, with high sorting cost and low yield.


  • Is the existing film regeneration line suitable for the regeneration of flexible packaging?

2: Establish an independent flexible packaging recycling stream

The premise of this topic is whether there is an application direction of downstream recycled products that can absorb plastic flexible packaging on a large scale.


Only in this way can it be possible to establish a recycling flow of flexible packaging. Otherwise, only the soft packaging is recycled, without downstream applications, then the soft packaging is also landfilled. If the downstream application direction is not clear, no matter how the upstream design, whether the soft packaging designed for recycling can meet the requirements of the downstream application direction is unclear.


There are also some problems with current flexible packaging, such as imperfect recycling, sorting and identification systems, unclear application value, small scale implementation and no large-scale.


On this basis, we also made some attempts to collect some flexible packaging regardless of category, mix it with bamboo powder for melting granulation, and study its feasible downstream product application. We hope that more partners will participate in testing and discussing the downstream large-scale application of flexible packaging.


“If we want to realize the recovery and regeneration of flexible packaging, the first step is to find the application direction after the regeneration of flexible packaging, which is crucial.”

The concept of recyclable design of plastic flexible packaging

Traditional flexible packaging design focuses on packaging design and use. Now to realize the recyclable flexible packaging, it is necessary to take the performance requirements of the application products after the recycling of flexible laminated packaging as guidance.

The regeneration design guidelines for PET and HDPE container packaging, each of which is formulated under the guidance of the application of downstream products. For example, the downstream recycled chemical fiber industry has a strong demand for recycled PET, and has clear performance indicators to guide the upstream product design. What kind of products need to be designed to be more conducive to PET recycling and to produce high-quality recycled PET.

The recyclable design concept of flexible packaging is the same.

The concept of recyclable design should guide the design of products from the performance requirements of plastic recycled products, so as to reflect the common cooperation of the entire industrial chain.

To realize the large-scale recycling of plastic flexible packaging, one of the prerequisites is that the recycling of plastic flexible packaging has a certain application income, and can produce and sell products, so that the recycling industrial chain of plastic flexible packaging can be formed and operated. Therefore, the first step of the research project on recycling and recycling of plastic flexible packaging is to study the recycling application direction of plastic flexible packaging.

To carry out the research project of plastic flexible packaging recycling, the following four aspects should be studied.

  1. Study the application scenario of plastic flexible packaging after regeneration;


Traditional PE film application scenarios are very clear. Can flexible packaging meet these application scenarios? We don’t think so.


  1. Establish the recycling system of plastic flexible packaging;


With a clear application direction, we will know what kind of flexible packaging has regenerative application value.


3 Develop recyclable design guidelines for plastic flexible packaging;


Establish a recyclable and renewable design guide for the development of plastic flexible packaging, and encourage the design and production enterprises of flexible packaging to develop products that conform to the recyclable and renewable design guide, so as to meet the downstream recycling and renewable application system.


4 Establish a recycling platform for plastic flexible packaging, and find a solution for plastic flexible packaging suitable for China.

Set up a flexible packaging technical committee to propose specific solutions for the research content of the recyclability of flexible packaging, and form an alliance with relevant organizations of the flexible packaging industry chain to jointly verify the feasibility and demonstration of the scheme.

What Longdapac Can Help?

Longdapac is the leading flexible packaging manufacturer from China since 1991. We focus on sustainable flexible packaging as you can see below:

100% Fully Recyclable High Barrier Mono-Material PE Pouches

High Barrier MDO-PE Film


Longdapac is the first high barrier MDO-PE film manufacturer in China and it is the first high barrier mono-material PE pouch manufacturer in China. ( MDO-PE / PE and MDO-PE / High barrier MDO-PE / PE)

Longdapac recyclable high barrier mono-material PE pouches can meet the recyclability of:

Longdapac is a BRC and ISO certified factory with annual capacity of more than 25,000 tons.

As leading flexible packaging companies in China, basically Longdapac can satisfy all your recyclable flexible packaging needs, both standard and high barrier.


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