Latent Recycling Potential of Multilayer Films in Austrian Waste Management

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External Organisational units

  • Polymer Competence Center Leoben GmbH


This work presents a hand sorting trial of Austrian plastic packaging, which showed that according to an extrapolation of the 170,000 t separately collected waste collected in Austria, 30 wt% are flexible 2D plastic packaging. Further, the applications for these materials have been catalogued. The composition of these films was evaluated via Fourier-Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy, which showed that 31% of all films were made of polyethene, 39% of polypropylene, 11% of polyethene–polyethene terephthalate composite, and 8% of a polyethene–polypropylene composite, further resulting in the calculation that of all flexible packaging, 20 wt% are multilayer films. These findings were used to calculate the latent potential for raising the current recycling quota of 25.7% to the mandated rate of 55% in 2030. To this end, scenarios depicting different approaches to sorting and recycling small films were evaluated. It was calculated that through improving the sorting of films the recycling rate could be increased to 35.5%. This approach allows for the recycling of monolayer films by avoiding contamination with foreign materials introduced by multilayer films that impede the recyclates’ mechanical properties. The evaluation showed that sorting multilayer films of this fraction could raise the recycling quota further to 38.9%.


Translated title of the contributionRecyclingpotential von Mehrschichtkunststofffolien in Österreich
Original languageEnglish
Article number1553
Number of pages15
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2022