Syensqo partners with Tomra to advance multi-layer PVDC packaging waste sorting


Syensqo and Tomra , a provider of sensor-based sorting technology and solutions for the circular economy, have joined forces to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of separating and sorting multi-component plastic structures in which polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) serves as barrier layer.


The two developed a joint set of experiments with multi-layer samples of commercial packaging waste consisting of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and Syensqo’s Ixan PVDC. The results have shown that multilayer films containing PVDC can be separated from mixed plastic waste using industrial sorting equipment to achieve clean grade PVDC and polyolefin recycling streams.

“The overall goal of this project was to challenge leading industry standards that state that multilayer PVDC films cannot be separated from multilayer packaging structures,” explains Federico Baruffi, Global Director of Specialty Polymers Marketing at Syensqo. “Our experiments have proven otherwise and are sending a clear message to the packaging and recycling industry that it can be done, especially with good precision and repeatability using existing industrial technology.”

The positive results apply to markets that currently generate multi-layer mixed plastic waste containing PVDC, such as shrink films from consumer and food packaging.

“One of the concerns of the recycling industry was the reliable identification of polymeric waste with PVDC content,” adds Marco Gregori, Area Sales Manager Italy at Tomra Recycling Sorting. “By combining our advanced optical and near-infrared detection systems, we have achieved a selectivity rate of more than 80% when sorting from post-consumer plastic mix and more than 95% when sorting from LDPE monolayer flow. “This is one more example of what current technology, in this case our Autosort, can already do.”

Together, these results have expanded the scope of mixed plastic waste suitable for recycling to a wide range of multilayer structures containing PVDC. The joint project between Syensqo and Tomra is also seen as a role model for advancing circularity in the plastics industry through dedicated research and development by industrial partners who share similar values.