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Separation technology solves complex cheese packaging problem

The Netherlands – Leading cheese manufacturer Bel Royal Leerdammer of the Netherlands has started recycling a complex packaging-related material by using a new technology capable of separating silicone coating from waste paper. The company is receiving help from waste management major SUEZ in partnership with other recyclers.

Royal Bel Leerdammer produces some 400 tonnes of packaged cheese per week, with more than 2.5 million units of plastic packaging finding their way to supermarkets at home and abroad.

All packages have a pre-printed, self-adhesive label with product information. The sheet on which these labels are stuck represent in total some 50 tonnes of waste per year; owing to a water-resistant silicone layer, the sheets cannot be recycled as a common waste paper.

Closing the silicone paper loop at Royal Bel Leerdammer is now possible through a SUEZ-led collaboration with Cycle4Green of Finland and Austria-based Lenzing Papier.

They have developed a technology to separate the silicone coating from the paper fibres, producing ‘a high-quality raw material’ which can be reused as ‘durable and circular’ sticker sheets and new paper, according to SUEZ.

SUEZ claims to be the only waste collector in the Netherlands that offers a solution for the recycling of sticker sheets. According to the company’s product manager for paper Marjolijn Stout, this solution is not limited to the food sector. ‘We also offer our services to the pharmaceutical and chemical industries as well, and logistics.’

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