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UK-based entrepreneur takes pioneering pyrolysis technology to the US

An innovative UK company is partnering with Kraft Heinz and Sonoco in a bid to improve packaging sustainability in the United States.

Enval, based in Cambridgeshire, has developed a unique proprietary pyrolysis solution for flexible plastic laminate packaging that recovers both the aluminium metal and the plastic as oil feedstock. The three partners have launched Touchdown, a joint project which means Enval’s recycling plants will appear in the United States for the first time. Kraft was an early supporter of the technology when Enval ceo Carlos Ludlow-Palafox was establishing his first facility in the UK over a decade ago.

The first phase of Touchdown will involve Enval assessing the current disposal solutions for materials used by Sonoco and Kraft Heinz in their flexible plastic packaging. With input from the other partners, Enval will deliver a feasibility study to include potential locations for future recycling plants to minimise the financial and environmental costs of packaging. The modular nature of the Enval technology ensures that the economic viability of the process starts at a small scale.

The plan is for Enval to continue the project by building the plants, which would initially target the treatment of scrap generated by Sonoco and Kraft Heinz during production but could eventually incorporate postconsumer waste.

Delight at deal

Ludlow-Palafox, ceo of Enval, says the company is thrilled to be working with Kraft Heinz and Sonoco. ‘We’re convinced that it is only via these types of collaborations, which involve players at different stages of the supply chain, that new technologies such as ours can be deployed quicker. We must quickly establish new and better infrastructure to succeed in reducing plastic pollution and decreasing carbon emissions.’

Linda Roman, head of packaging growth & technology at Kraft Heinz, adds: ‘We see a high-demand for recyclable packaging amongst our consumers, which matches our goal of offering more sustainable products. The company began a relationship with Enval in 2011 to help construct their first commercial-scale plant in the UK and we are excited to also explore opportunities to advance packaging recycling with Enval in the United States.’

Jeff Schuetz, a vice president for consumer packaging at Sonoco, says innovation in recycling technologies in needed to improve end-of-life options for packaging. ‘Sonoco believes the combination of product and recycling innovation will provide a compelling solution and we are happy to partner with Enval on this exciting project.’

Carlos Ludlow-Palafox talks to Recycling International about his innovative technology in our next issue.

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