MERLIN project – From Landfill and Incineration to Closed Loop and
Chemical Recycling of the Multilayer Plastic
Increasing the quality and rate of MultilayER packaging recycLINg waste
MERLIN project aims at designing innovative solutions for all the processes required to increase the quality and rate of recycled plastic materials coming from multi-layer packaging waste.
With a yearly volume of about 3.03 million tonnes, which is about 17% of all plastic packaging in the EU, multi-layer plastic packaging waste is a significant part of the current waste stream. Due to its complex structure and often heterogeneous composition, recycling of multi-layer plastic packaging remains a major challenge. This leads to currently very high rates of incineration for energy recovery and landfilling compared to only marginal rates of recycling. An increase in circularity would reduce environmental impact, decrease dependence on raw materials from fossil sources and potentially make a significant contribution
towards reaching the EU´s packaging waste recycling rate target for 2030, which is 80 %.
Particula Group, as the work package leader in Merlin project, has an assignment to assess the environmental, economic, social, legislative and regulatory barriers for the implementation of MERLIN processes and products. Instead of baseline scenario current practices of producing and then disposing Multilayer Packaging Materials, MERLIN project is going to transfer current linear model to circular economy model. Switching from linear processes of fossil-Based Feedstock, Monomers Production, Plastic Production (polymerization), Packaging Production, Packaging Use, Collection and Sorting and then Incineration/Landfill linear model, to circular economy model, changing the “old ways” from disposing and burning to sustainable models of reusing and recycling. This is where Particula Group will calculate and demonstrate how to close the loop from environmental, economic and social point of view.
Joining a partnership between sorting technology providers, recyclers, research centers, social innovation experts and end-users, within a 36 months window, MERLIN project aims at designing innovative solutions for all the processes required to increase the quality and rate of recycled plastic materials coming from multi-layer packaging waste:
- SORTING (combining optical sensors, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and robotics).
- DELAMINATION (optimizing depolymerisation and using solvent-based processes).
- RECYLING (techniques for repolymerization and upcycling of polymers).
- VALIDATION (developing rigid and flexible packaging solutions and demonstrating circularity of the processes).
MERLIN partners will design recycling solutions for rigid and flexible multi-layer plastic packaging waste coming from post-consumer and post-industrial sources, obtaining new high-performance packaging solutions (flexible and rigid) for the food packaging industry. MERLIN will contribute to the European Strategy for Plastics, The Circular Plastics Alliance, the EU Green Deal and the Achievement of Sustainable Goals 3, 4, 5, 7, 13 & 19. The project is expected to have a positive impact on the environment, leading to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the dependence on imported fossil fuels, recovering and recycling the 3.03 Mt/year of multilayer packaging waste in Europe.
Read more about MERLIN project following the link: https://merlinproject.eu