HORIZON 2020 Project – MERLIN
Increasing the quality and rate of multi-layer packaging recycling waste
High-performance demands by the industry and the consumers result in 17% of total plastic packaging being made in multilayer material. Expensive and complex methods to delaminate these multi-layers exceedingly difficult to recycle packaging results in 3.03 Mt/year of plastic. As a result, multi-layer packaging is landfilled or incinerated.
Starting 1st of June, Horizon 2020 Merlin project has put together 14 EU partners from sorting technology providers, recyclers, research centers, social innovation experts to end-users to design cradle-to-cradle solutions.
This 36-month research project will offer innovative solutions for all the processes required to increase the quality and rate of recycled plastic materials coming from multi-layer packaging waste: 1. SORTING (combining optical sensors, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), and robotics), 2. DELAMINATION (optimizing depolymerization and using solvent-based processes), 3. RECYCLING (techniques for repolymerization and upcycling of polymers) and 4. VALIDATION (developing rigid and flexible packaging solutions and demonstrating circularity of the processes). These solutions will be developed and later validated in a real environment to reach the technology readiness level (TRL) 6.
These actions are aligned with the ones proposed by the European Plastic Strategy to achieve that by 2030 all plastic packaging should be designed to be recyclable or reusable and decrease the quantity of waste generated.
The main objective of MERLIN is the development and promotion of disruptive processes for the sorting, delamination, and recycling of rigid and flexible multi-layer plastic packaging waste from post-consumer and post-industrial sources to obtain new high-performance packaging solutions (flexible and rigid) for the food packaging industry.
Particula Group will carry out a full environmental, economic, and social assessment of all the processes and materials developed during the project. This Life Cycle Thinking approach will include Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA), Life-Cycle Costing (LCC), Social Life-Cycle Assessment (S-LCA), eco-efficiency analyses.