Multilayer Packaging in a Circular Economy

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Sorting multilayer packaging is still a major challenge in the recycling of post-consumer plastic waste. In a 2019 Germany-wide field study with 248 participants, lightweight packaging (LWP) was randomly selected and analyzed by infrared spectrometry to identify multilayer packaging in the LWP stream. Further investigations of the multilayer packaging using infrared spectrometry and microscopy were able to determine specific multilayer characteristics such as typical layer numbers, average layer thicknesses, the polymers of the outer and inner layers, and typical multilayer structures for specific packaged goods. This dataset shows that multilayer packaging is mainly selected according to the task to be fulfilled, with practically no concern for its end-of-life recycling properties. The speed of innovation in recycling processes does not keep up with packaging material innovations.


Original languageEnglish
Article number1825
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0002-0703-0275/work/142255730


ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • circular economy, lightweight packaging, multilayer, plastic, recycling