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‘Magic liquid’ for recycling composite packaging

Germany – Saperatec is launching an industrial pilot facility dedicated to recycling composite packaging materials. The plant will be built at the German recycling technology specialist’s headquarters in Bielefeld.

The new facility will operate the patented approach to the processing of plastic-plastic and plastic-aluminium laminate packaging recently developed by Saperatec, at the core of which is a ‘completely new’ micro-emulsion technique. In addition to beverage cartons, the facility will treat solar PV panels, vehicle glass and lithium-ion batteries.

‘The plant mixes the micro-emulsion, treats the composite material in the micro-emulsion, then washes the material, reconditions the micro-emulsion and sorts the individual fractions obtained,’ Saperatec explains. Thus, the plant performs the entire separation process – achieved via stirring at 40°C – up to obtaining the individual fractions.

The principle behind the innovative process is said to be simple. ‘A liquid is developed to penetrate between the layers of a multi-layer system and burst this open, separating the individual layers,’ notes Saperatec. ‘However, the art lies in the composition of this magic liquid.’ Jörg Dockendorf, Saperatec’s managing director, adds: ‘Every year, composite materials with a value of over a billion Euros are thrown away.’

With a recycling rate of 100%, this wet-chemical process can treat approximately 500 tonnes of composite material per year.

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