Aronax Technologies Spain

Spain

A recyclable, magnetic coating that replaces multi-layered packaging.

Circular Materials Challenge winner

Category 1: Make unrecyclable packaging recyclable

Aronax Technologies Spain proposes a magnetic additive that can be applied to a material, creating better air and moisture insulation – making it suitable to protect sensitive products such as coffee and medical products, while still being possible to recycle.

How does this innovation accelerate the transition to a circular economy?

The additive – small, plate-like particles of silicates and iron oxide – will provide plastics with much better abilities to block gases such as oxygen. This works in a similar way to how state-of-the-art aluminium coating does today in non-recyclable multilayer materials, but in smaller quantities. The additive can be used in both recyclable and compostable plastics. Two examples of where this material could replace multilayers are toothpaste tubes and food and drink pouches.

What’s new?

Because of the magnetic properties of the additive particles, they can make it easier to identify and separate the packaging at the recycling stage. In addition, thanks to their magnetism, the particles could potentially be recovered separately in the future, by melting or dissolving the packaging and retrieving a purified polymer, while collecting the particles to be used again.

3 questions for the team

Aronax Team

David Espinosa

Consultant in Energy, Industry and Mining for the public sector

  • What made you come up with this idea?

  • I have been recently working on a design of a novel type of surgical glove with a plate-like additive, similar to a scaled armour, to make it pierce-proof against needles. I realised that the same ‘armoured scale’ principle could be applied to the Circular Materials Challenge to replace aluminium as a barrier.

  • What makes your idea stand out and how will it help to accelerate the transition to a Circular Economy for plastics?

  • The plastics industry involves several processing steps and uses expensive equipment. This innovation has several advantages: • It is expected to use existing processing equipment without major adaptations • It allows mechanical separation and recycling, and could even enable separate recovery of the coating through a an additional process step • It uses only safe and common compounds • It can provide the insulation requirements necessary to replace multi-material laminates

  • What excites you the most about the New Plastics Economy Accelerator Programme?

  • There are many problems and influencing factors only known to those with experience in the industry. The accelerator programme will allow us to discuss these with experts and get their guidance on how to make the invention a commercial reality. Most challenges stop at the award phase, leaving the winners with some money and no further help on how to convert that idea into a product. I think the accelerator programme will partially fill the gap between a concept with an award and a commercial success.