Plastic flexible films waste management – A state of art review

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Title: Plastic flexible films waste management – A state of art review
Authors: Horodytska, Oksana | Valdés, Francisco Javier | Fullana, Andres
Research Group/s: Residuos, Energía, Medio Ambiente y Nanotecnología (REMAN)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ingeniería Química | Universidad de Alicante. Instituto Universitario de Ingeniería de los Procesos Químicos
Keywords: Plastic film | Packaging | Waste management | Recycling | Deinking | Life cycle assessment
Knowledge Area: Ingeniería Química
Issue Date: Jul-2018
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Waste Management. 2018, 77: 413-425. doi:10.1016/j.wasman.2018.04.023
Abstract: Plastic flexible films are increasingly used in many applications due to their lightness and versatility. In 2014, the amount of plastic films represented 34% of total plastic packaging produced in UK. The flexible film waste generation rises according to the increase in number of applications. Currently, in developed countries, about 50% of plastics in domestic waste are films. Moreover, about 615,000 tonnes of agricultural flexible waste are generated in the EU every year. A review of plastic films recycling has been conducted in order to detect the shortcomings and establish guidelines for future research. This paper reviews plastic films waste management technologies from two different sources: post-industrial and post-consumer. Clean and homogeneous post-industrial waste is recycled through closed-loop or open-loop mechanical processes. The main differences between these methods are the quality and the application of the recycled materials. Further research should be focused on closing the loops to obtain the highest environmental benefits of recycling. This could be accomplished through minimizing the material degradation during mechanical processes. Regarding post-consumer waste, flexible films from agricultural and packaging sectors have been assessed. The agricultural films and commercial and industrial flexible packaging are recycled through open-loop mechanical recycling due to existing selective waste collection routes. Nevertheless, the contamination from the use phase adversely affects the quality of recycled plastics. Therefore, upgrading of current washing lines is required. On the other hand, household flexible packaging shows the lowest recycling rates mainly because of inefficient sorting technologies. Delamination and compatibilization methods should be further developed to ensure the recycling of multilayer films. Finally, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies on waste management have been reviewed. A lack of thorough LCA on plastic films waste management systems was identified.
Sponsor: This work was supported with a Grant from the University of Alicante as part of the InnoUA Transfer of Knowledge programme (Industrial Doctorate).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/77789
ISSN: 0956-053X (Print) | 1879-2456 (Online)
DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2018.04.023
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2018 Elsevier Ltd.
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2018.04.023
Appears in Collections:INV - REMAN - Artículos de Revistas

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