Project to Make Circular Plastic Films

The recycling industry is feeling the heat of compostable films and are leading a project to make circular plastic films in Belgium.

Two projects have been set up under the leadership of Valipac. Valipac is a federation representing the industrial packaging and recycling industry in Belgium.

Shrink Film / Thick Films (120 microns)

Total group and its Belgian R&D center (Feluy) are working on the recyclability of plastic films.

They developed a mix of virgin plastic and plastic packaging recyclates called “Booster Polymer”.

It allows the use of 50% recyclates in the manufacture of a new film with identical properties, if not superior to the film composed of 100% virgin plastic.

In early 2019, the packaging film producers Oerlemans and Rymoplast agreed to collaborate on the project, joined by end-users brick manufacturers Wienerberger and Olivier Bricks, the construction company Coeck and the glassmaker Saint-Gobain Autover.

Wrap Stretch Films / Thin Films (30 microns)

The principle is the same as for thick films, except that the share of recyclates in the new mixture is lower: Valipac and its partners aim for 25% (for 75% virgin plastic).

There are two technical challenges: find a way to increase the adhesion and the strength of the plastic films.

Folowing companies have joined the project: Dow, Reynaers Alu, Mima Films, Rymoplast, Colruyt and the University of Hasselt.

We are still at the testing stage, but the fathers of the project expect the marketing of these films in 2020. “The stretch film market is much larger than that of shrink film ,  said Francis Huysman from Valipac.

A bigger problem still remains to be solved for all films: the inks used to print colors and messages on packaging plastics.

In most cases, they make films very difficult to recycle.

 “Little research has been done on inks, says Francis Huysman. The University of Ghent is working on this. And we are working with the Japanese group Toyo Inc to develop inks that can be neutralized during the recycling process. “

Once these initiatives have delivered their promises, the next challenge will be to convince the 7,900 member companies of Valipac to use these films in their packaging.

A communication campaign will be launched.

Valipac is also stimulating separate collections to valorize the waste streams.



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Une filière circulaire pour le film plastique d’emballage




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