Recycling post-consumer film trials

Trials were carried out using fully comingled post-consumer film packaging to manufacture products that could be used by the retail sector such as refuse sacks, in store display panels and external hoardings.

Three different trials were carried out, one at a refuse bag manufacturer and two at panel board manufacturers. Each trial used material from different sources such as film collection from a material recycling facility, collected kerbside sourced comingled film, and post-consumer recyclate sourced from a retail store’s front and back of store waste.

The trials showed that a range of products can be manufactured successfully, including refuse sacks, external hoardings and in-store displays.

The retail sector is exploring opportunities to sell and/or use the products within their store networks provided they show an economic or environmental benefit.

Further research

Additional research showed that new variants on conventional near-infrared (NIR) sorters offer the potential to address the technical challenges of sorting plastic films. The trials show how the NIRs with Turbosorters® separate the majority of household PE film from the 2D fraction of a UK kerbside co-mingled collection. 

The economic assessment suggests that using NIR sorters of the type tested may be more beneficial than hand sorting in UK MRFs processing household plastic film from co-mingled kerbside collection, due to the reduced operating costs of NIR sorters.

The research also shows that resulting PE film could be successfully reprocessed through existing facilities to produce a high quality PE pellet suitable for end-market application