Professor Howard Chase and Dr. Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, scientists at the University of Cambridge, have found that it is possible to turn laminate packaging waste into aluminum flakes and hydrocarbon gases. By using a nitrogen-filled microwave turned up to 600 degrees Celsius (or 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit), they found that the plastic-aluminum laminate waste (like that used in drink pouches and toothpaste tubes) could be transformed without toxic emissions.
Nestlé, Kraft Foods, and Modelez International are partly responsible for the funding of the experiment, making way for a commercial plant that will recycle 2,000 tons of waste per year.
Dr. Ludlow-Palafox said,
“It was a chicken and egg situation. No one is going to buy this technology unless this type of waste is separated for recycling, but the waste wasn’t going to be separated because there has been no process to recycle it. We had to break that negative loop somehow.”