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18 February, 2021 - 10:38 By Tony Quested

Enval, Kraft Heinz and Sonoco launch CleanTech power play

Cambridge CleanTech business Enval has partnered with two multibillion dollar turnover giants – The Kraft Heinz Co. and Sonoco – to fast-track the deployment of plastic recycling solutions in the United States.

For Enval, the ultimate aim of the Touchdown project is to see its first recycling plants in America capable of recycling previously unrecyclable plastic packaging leveraging the UK company’s unique proprietary pyrolysis technology for treating low-density packaging waste. 

Enval’s process has dual objectives. It transforms plastics into oil feedstock to produce new plastic – effectively closing the loop on packaging recycling and enabling previously unrecyclable packaging to become valuable and environmentally responsible. 

Furthermore, it is the only technology in the world capable of recycling plastic aluminium laminates by splitting them into high-value oil and aluminium with a low-carbon footprint.

The first phase of the project will involve Enval assessing the current disposal solutions for materials used by Sonoco and Kraft Heinz during the production and use respectively of flexible plastic packaging.

At the end of the first phase, Enval will produce – with input from the other partners – a feasibility study which will include potential locations for future recycling plants in a way in which the financial and environmental costs associated with transporting the packaging to the recycling plants is minimised. 

This approach is possible because the Enval technology was conceived in a modular way which ensures that economic viability of the process starts at a small scale, thanks to its low CAPEX.

Enval will then build these plants, which could initially target the treatment of scrap generated by Sonoco and Kraft Heinz, but with the idea of incorporating post-consumer waste in the future.  

Dr Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, CEO of Enval, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with two groups as important in the consumer packaged goods and packaging communities as 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, said: “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.”

Sonoco believes the combination of product and recycling innovation will provide a compelling solution, according to Jeff Schuetz, Staff Vice President – Global Technology, Consumer Packaging at Sonoco.

He said: “While flexible packaging has a low environmental footprint, we recognise that innovation is needed in recycling technologies to improve its end-of-life options. We are happy to partner with Enval on this exciting project.”

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