ReFOIL: recycling of multilayer packaging waste

What is it about?

ReFOIL is a two-year VLAIO TETRA project about the mechanical recycling of multilayer packaging waste, a waste stream that is currently considered non-recyclable.

Plastic packaging generally consist of multiple layers of different polymer materials. These layers are physically connected, as a result of which the different polymers can no longer be separated from each other. Therefore they must be processed together as a mixture during recycling. This has a negative effect on the properties and processability of these mixtures, which makes efficient mechanical recycling very challenging. Many of these packaging materials are therefore not yet recycled, but only processed through incineration with energy recovery.

Objective of the research

The general objective of the ReFOIL project is to develop methods for the effective and efficient mechanical recycling of multilayer plastic packaging waste (trays and foils). During the project four different industrial relevant case studies are investigated which contain some of the common used plastic packaging materials (PE, PP, PET, PA and EVOH). For each of the cases a suitable application or demonstrator will be determined and developed through the principle of ‘design from recycling’.

-         Research partners: KU Leuven-Propolis and VKC-Centexbel

-         Supporting organizations: OVAM, Fost Plus, Go4Circle, Val-i-Pac, Federplast, Pack4Food

-        Industrial partners: Vanheede, Attero, Suez, EuralPack, Packas, Segers & Balcaen, Conhomat, InterSOLUTION, ExxonMobil, Terbeke, Amcor Flexibles, Colruyt, VDH Technics, Carrefour, Govaerts Recycling, ECO-oh!, Beaulieu International Group

Type of funding and duration

VLAIO-TETRA, 2017-2019


Coordinator: Prof. Kim Ragaert
Ellen De Tandt