MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bayreuth researchers, led by Prof. Dr. Markus Retsch, physical chemist, develop an upcycling process that gives aluminum-plastic composite films an innovative second use, said Specialchem.
An easy-to-apply coating transforms used APL packaging into high-performance, versatile cooling films that counteract another global problem - the high energy demand for cooling systems. Aluminum-plastic composite (APL) films are very often used for food packaging, but they pose a challenge when it comes to plastic recycling.
Films made of aluminum-plastic laminates (APL) have long been used extensively to extend the shelf life of chips, roasted and powdered coffee, milk, fruit juices and other foods. The films consist of several polymer layers and an aluminum layer, which protects the products from damaging factors –sunlight, heat, moisture and oxygen. However, recycling such composite films is difficult as a result of this combination of different materials.
The upcycling process of chips bags now developed in Bayreuth shows a way to improve the recycling of APL waste and, at the same time, reduce global energy consumption. The aluminum layer of APL packaging provides a mirror-like reflective surface, such as that found on emergency blankets.
If a clear polymer layer is now applied that increases the radiation of thermal energy, a powerful cooling system is complete. A simple laminating film, such as is commonly found in office supply stores, is already sufficient as a material for the coating.
The coating creates cooling foils that can be applied to any surface in the open air, such as umbrellas, blinds and awnings and thus, prevent heating from glaring sunlight. At the same time, the ambient heat is diverted to the cool space without the need for an external energy supply. These effects are referred to as ‘passive daytime cooling. Ideally, they can lead to temperatures below the ambient temperature, even in the case of intense sunlight.
We remind, Indorama Ventures has inked a deal with AMB to drive circularity in PET food tray packaging. The companies intend to manufacture recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) flakes by recycling PET food tray packaging. These high-quality rPET flakes can then be used for producing new food packaging trays, contributing to a circular economy system.