Peeling Back the Layers on Monolayer Materials

Monolayer materials use multiple layers of just one type of material, resulting in packaging that’s much easier to recycle.

Transcript

Did you know that flexible packaging is not flexible when it comes to recycling?

It is usually made from multiple materials sealed together, which can’t be easily separated and recycled.

Enter monolayer films, a sustainable solution that’s a bit of a misnomer since it can be made with multiple layers of a single material.

More companies are taking advantage of this approach for everyday products. Colgate recently removed the aluminum layer from its toothpaste tubes, and Mars Food released a monolayer microwaveable standup pouch for rice.

As always, there’s a catch – like any other film, these monolayer films generally can’t be curbside recycled. Unlike rigid plastic containers, films are difficult for MRFs to sort and reclaim, at least when using today’s equipment. That’s why consumers must bring their used packaging to in-store drop-off points.

Technologies like chemical recycling could soon let us recycle these packs in the regular blue bin. In the meantime, keeping those green arrows turning will take extra effort.

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