Laminate and multi-layer plastic film, which often looks identical to single layer film, are harmful contaminants in the recycling process if unsorted - clogging screens, interrupting production and preventing film recycling on a large scale.
If not incinerated, the unsorted plastic film is exported. Export channels are narrowing however, as a result of more scrutiny on the part of the Environment Agency in the UK. Shipments are also being returned by foreign governments who rightly no longer want to deal with waste from first world countries ending up in landfill and waterways, creating long term local and international environmental problems.
Because plastic film cannot be easily recycled, the elements of the post-consumer plastic film packaging supply chain in the UK - manufacture, consumption and disposal - act independently from one another in a single-use linear economy model, with no link to create a circular alternative.
Recycled material must also meet high purity standards to be considered as a replacement for virgin polymer. All together this explains why virgin polymer is the most widely used material for plastic film packaging in the consumer goods industry today.
Using nothing but water and specially designed processing equipment, BOSS 2D can separate post-consumer flexible plastic film, with the first technical goal being to remove laminated and multilayer film from “prime” polyolefin film. Further refinements for other specific film types will follow.
If the various film types have been accurately separated they can be recycled without fear of contamination. Ultimately, BOSS 2D will enable a move to a scalable, circular economy for post-consumer plastic film.
The BOSS 2D technology is intended to be licensed to any third party recycler who will be able to fit the technology onto the end of an existing film wash line, or to completely replace the sink float tank trains in large scale film processes.
In this way the relatively simple solution can help to revolutionise plastic film recycling without reinventing the wheel, minimising barriers to use.