The LIFE EXTRUCLEAN project has developed an innovative process to remove hazardous substances from plastic waste. This represents a good example of upcycling – creating a higher quality recycled material. This type of upcycling is particularly relevant to the new EU Circular Economy Package (December 2015), which prioritizes approaches that address hazardous substances.

AIMPLAS coordinates the Spanish LIFE project, in collaboration with AIDIMA, ARVET, ACTECO and Enplast. They recently announced that their new decontamination technology eliminates 70% more hazardous substances from plastic waste than the main conventional process.

The conventional process for removing hazardous substances from plastic waste utilizes a triple washing and drying method that requires large amounts of water, cleaning agents and energy, and produces a large volume of waste water. In addition, the recycled plastic obtained is generally of low value.

The new technique developed by the LIFE EXTRUCLEAN project is innovative because it uses supercritical carbon dioxide (sc-CO2) in the extrusion phase of the plastic recycling process. This technique was optimized in the laboratory to eliminate hazardous substances from plastic waste packaging that had been contaminated by its contents (such as solvents).

In addition to producing a higher-quality recycled plastic, compared to conventional methods the new process reduces both labour time and the consumption of water and energy, as it eliminates the need for two of the three washing and drying stages. The recycled plastic will be used in containers for hazardous substances, thereby closing the life cycle for this type of recycled plastic. The task ahead for the final part of this innovative LIFE project will be to upscale the technology to an industrial level, and to validate the material for commercial use.

Packaging South Asia — resilient, growing and impactful — daily, monthly — always responsive

The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are growing similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers. This is a large and complex canvas – the only thing that can work is your agile thinking and innovation together with our continuous learning and persistence.

The coming year looks to be an up year in this region, and this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing communication – in our rich and highly targeted business platform with human resources on the ground. Share your thoughts and plans to inspire and mobilize our editorial and advertising teams!

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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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