New invention aims to pioneer the recycling of food cartons
For way too long, food cartons have been the troublemaker for companies working towards the green transition. These products often contain different raw materials such as plastic, aluminum, and cardboard which makes it difficult for recycling businesses to separate the elements into reusable components. This might be an obstacle of the past according to Danish recycling company Prounit Frames.
We are using them in almost all aspects of daily life. Milk, juice, and biscuits are among countless consumer products that are kept in food cartons. However, when these cartons are discarded the vast majority never gets recycled, and ends up in incinerators where they contribute to the pollution of the environment. With additional time on his hands due to the lockdown, the Managing Director of Prounit Frames, Michael Kristensen, started to look into possible solutions to the challenge of extracting usable raw material from food cartons:
“We start by cutting up the cartons and rinsing them thoroughly. Then, we put it into our machine where we bathe them in various chemicals while strictly controlling the temperature. This process is what is causing the separation.” says Michael Kristensen, Managing Director of Prounit Frames.
A solution with great potential
Preliminary product testing has shown promising results, although the invention is still under development. Both plastic and aluminum come out of the machine and are suitable for recycling, while cardboard fibers also look intact – even the chemicals from the extraction process can subsequently be used in biogas plants.
Cardboard mixed with plastic can be burned and transformed into heat, beyond that it holds no value.
There are grand ambitions at Prounit Frames. The entrepreneur is confident in the potential of his invention and is hopeful of an export adventure to the foreign markets. Furthermore, the machine is patent-pending while plans on constructing a full-scale prototype are scheduled to commence this fall.
Source: FødevareWatch (In Danish)