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MERLIN: Increasing the quality and rate of MultilayER packaging recycLINg waste

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

Coordinated by the Spanish research centre ITENE, MERLIN is the Horizon 2020 project focused on the development of disruptive processes for the sorting, delamination and recycling of rigid and flexible multi-layer plastic packaging.

Officially started on June 1st 2021, MERLIN project has put together 14 partners (sorting technology providers, recyclers, research centres, social innovation experts and end-users) to find a synergic solution to increase the quality and rate of recycled multi-layer packaging waste. To achieve this objective, the partners have 30 months of work ahead to synergise their knowledge and expertise and carry out the assigned tasks towards the realization of the expected outcomes.

MERLIN solutions will be gradually implemented, starting with the sorting process that will occur combining optical sensors, Artificial Intelligence and robotics. Then, the delamination process will optimize depolymerisation and solvent-based processes. The final processes will be the recycling techniques for repolymerization and upcycling of polymers, and the validation of recycled PET, PO (PE/PP)-based packaging, which will eventually allow to develop rigid and flexible packaging solutions and demonstrating the circularity of the processes. These solutions will be elaborated and later validated in a real environment to TRL 6.

Eventually, the project partners will design recycling solutions for rigid and flexible multi-layer plastic packaging waste coming from post-consumer and post-industrial sources, obtaining new high-performance packaging solutions (flexible and rigid) for the food packaging industry. MERLIN will also differentiate its products on the market tapping into increasing market and consumer demand for high-performance environmentally friendly packaging.

MERLIN, which stands for “Increasing the quality and rate of MultilayER packaging recycLINg waste”, will contribute to the European Strategy for Plastics, The Circular Plastics Alliance, the EU Green Deal and the Achievement of Sustainable Goals 3, 4, 5, 7, 13 & 19. The project is expected to have a positive impact on the environment, leading to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the dependence on imported fossil fuels, recovering and recycling the 3.03 Mt/year of multilayer packaging waste in Europe.

The 1st General Assembly of MERLIN will take place on 26th and 27th January 2022, in a hybrid format (face to face, at ITENE facilities in Valencia, and online).

EuPC media contact:


+32 (0)2 741 82 82

Avenue de Cortenbergh 71

1000 Bruxelles, Belgium

MERLIN project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under the Grant Agreement No 101003883, with an allocated budget of € 4.926.225.


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