The University of Cambridge has filed a patent application for a continuous equipment to recycle plastic/paper/aluminium laminate packaging; the patent application is the result of research carried out in the Department of Chemical Engineering by Dr. Carlos Ludlow-Palafox and Prof. Howard A. Chase.
Plastic/Paper/Aluminium laminate packaging, for example the containers used in the food and beverage industry and commonly known as Tetra-pak®, are materials that currently have no comprehensive process for recycling. At present only the paper content of such packing is recovered through a “de-pulping” process. The remaining plastic and aluminium waste is disposed of through landfilling by the paper recyclers at high economic and environmental costs.
Dr. Ludlow-Palafox and Prof. Chase are currently developing the first continuous prototype of the process that could be ready for testing as early as July this year. After that, they anticipate spending a few months optimising and, if necessary, modifying this prototype in order to produce a workable design for commercial operation.