New separation method

Innovative technology makes flexible packaging recyclable

  • Technology from Covestro weakens the bond strength of PU adhesives
  • Laminated films in multilayer packaging can be separated after use
  • The individual materials can be recycled later

They are indispensable in modern everyday life: Flexible packaging made from several layers of film enables the hygienic and safe storage of many foods. However, the versatile packaging has a problem: sustainable disposal. After use, the bonded films in the material mix are difficult to separate from one another - and that is why such flexible packaging is unfortunately only partially recyclable.

Covestro has identified the problem - and has developed a process for recycling companies and packaging manufacturers to address this problem: In the case of multi-layer film packages laminated with polyurethane (PU) adhesive, the respective materials can be separated from one another again thanks to the new technology. The team will now present the development at the K 2022 trade fair from 19 to 26 October in Düsseldorf.

In the process, a special separation agent specifically weakens the bond strength of the PU adhesive. Since the separation agent consists of natural ingredients and water, it is also very sustainable. For packaging manufacturers and recyclers, the process offers a major advantage: "Our know-how helps them to make better use of the residual value of their packaging and thus makes more materials available to the recycling industry," says Thomas Fait. The New Business Development Manager for Adhesives at Covestro has led the development of the technology on a laboratory scale. "With projects like this, we contribute to achieve our corporate vision: to make the circular economy a reality. For this purpose, we work with partners from a wide variety of fields and industries and are always looking for ways how our products and technologies can help other companies become circular."

At the K 2022 trade fair, the team will be presenting the technology to the plastics industry for the first time and looking for potential partners from the packaging and recycling industry to further develop the process together with them.


About Covestro:

Covestro is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality polymer materials and their components. With its innovative products, processes and methods, the company helps enhance sustainability and the quality of life in many areas. Covestro supplies customers around the world in key industries such as mobility, building and living, as well as the electrical and electronics sector. In addition, polymers from Covestro are also used in sectors such as sports and leisure, cosmetics and health, as well as in the chemical industry itself.

The company is committed to becoming fully circular and is striving to become climate neutral by 2035 (scope 1 and 2). Covestro generated sales of EUR 15.9 billion in fiscal 2021. At the end of 2021, the company had 50 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 17,900 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).

Forward-looking statements

This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at www.covestro.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.