Flexible recycling

Flexible laminated packaging has been a boon for manufacturers, but a challenge for recycling companies. Annie Kane discovers an innovation in technology that could change all that

This article was taken from Issue 81

The humble bacon roll hit headlines during the 2015 election campaign for turning politicians into gurners, but the breakfast treat is now gaining fame for inspiring scientists to produce the latest groundbreaking recycling technology.

David Boorman, Business Development Director at environmental services company Enval, explains: “Professor Howard Chase at the University of Cambridge had heard a story about a business acquaintance leaving a bacon roll inside a microwave for so long that it turned in a piece of charred carbon and began to generate so much heat it was actually glowing red. 

“This got him thinking about the science at work there and how it might be used in commercial applications to apply heat to specific areas. After looking into the process, Professor Chase came up with microwave-induced pyrolysis, and with it a new solution for a problem waste stream – flexible laminated packaging.”