TerraCycle has recognised Honeywell's Aclar Barrier Film Blisters as technically recyclable for PVC and PETG-based blisters.
× Through the partnership, the team has developed a lab-scale process that allows for the separation of Aclar from blister packaging to achieve technical recyclability.
Technical recyclability is the first step of the journey to practical recyclability which may enable a second, downstream life for products that have traditionally been seen as difficult to recycle such as industrial process equipment, chemical apparatus and automotive components.
Aclar is an ultra high-barrier film that’s the industry leader and trusted choice for pharmaceutical packaging for over 50 years. This film is part of Honeywell's Life Sciences portfolio that includes Aclar Edge bottles. Both the Aclar films and Aclar Edge bottles help protect drugs by providing the moisture barrier protection needed for drug stability and preserving the efficacy of medicines. TerraCycle is a global leader in collecting and repurposing difficult or hard-to-recycle waste. They work with brands, retailers and other stakeholders to help develop recycling solutions for waste streams that are not typically curbside recyclable.
Why does this matter?
This recent achievement provides a methodology for multi-layer materials, like pharmaceutical blister packaging, to be recycled.
A common challenge faced by pharmaceutical manufacturers and consumers alike is that current traditional recycling processes can only handle less complex structures like monolayer materials.
This leads to waste from multi-layer primary pharmaceutical barrier packaging materials being often sent to landfills or incinerated, unable to be recycled within existing municipal recycle streams.
As a result, pharmaceutical manufacturers have started an aggressive journey to improve their environmental footprint at the request of their customers. They are making strong commitments to carbon neutrality, PVC-free packaging and packaging material reduction.
The process that the team developed to reclaim material from used multi-layer Aclar film blisters helps us continue to reduce our environmental footprint with an opportunity to reduce waste and divert materials from landfills or other disposal methods.
It is anticipated that the reclaimed material will be used downstream for non-pharmaceutical products. This is important because current regulations do not allow for recycled material to be used for primary drug packaging.
Although the technical recyclability for Aclar film blisters is currently at lab-scale, the next step is to demonstrate the process within a real-world scenario.
As sustainable practices continue to be vital for furthering these efforts, Honeywell are developing separation processes to enable post-patient collection and recovery of healthcare packaging.
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