Transition booster Eléonore is making packaging more easily recyclable

  • Plastic packaging is part of our everyday lives and is extremely useful. It keeps food fresh for longer, protects valuable objects and is indispensable in many medical applications.
  • Recycling this packaging is vital, and can only be achieved through innovation.

At the INEOS research centre in Neder-Over-Heembeek, Technical Service and Development Engineer Eléonore Triffaux is working on a new technology to recycle more plastics. 

‘When we look at packaging, we often don't realise that it is generally made up of different materials,’ she explains. ‘Each type of plastic gives the packaging specific properties, such as rigidity, strength or moisture resistance. This makes for high-quality packaging. But these different layers also make recycling more difficult.

This is why it is necessary to innovate and find solutions that preserve the positive characteristics of packaging, such as keeping food fresh, and that also enable it to be recycled. It's a challenge that Eléonore is working on as an engineer at INEOS Olefins & Polymers, a company specialising in the manufacture of plastics used, for example, in water pipes, bottles, cars, packaging and medical devices.

‘In our research centre, we have succeeded in developing flexible film structures that allow more packaging to be recycled. We have managed to retain all the necessary functions of the packaging, but instead of using several materials, we now use just one: polyethylene. This makes the packaging entirely recyclable,’ explains Eléonore.

The INEOS research centre in Neder-Over-Heembeek has also developed a packaging film made from more than 50% recycled plastic waste, a first on the market. ‘My work has an immediate impact on the packaging we find in supermarkets. But in the longer term, it also has a beneficial impact on the quality of our environment. It's a great source of daily satisfaction,’ says Eléonore proudly.

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