DUSSELDORF, GERMANY - Multilayer thermoformed plastic lids need a ``breakthrough'' to win widespread use over paper and foil on many European portion packs, such as yogurt, said an official of Cobelplast NV, a Belgian maker of coextruded sheet. ``Today, the plain plastic coextruded lid concept is still in a difficult economical perspective compared with the paper-based lids'' on yogurt, said Benny DeGroof, manager of research and development at Cobelplast.
The company in Lokeren is part of Continental Can Europe.
Many other applications have been studied but delayed because of German recycling regulations, the higher weight of the plastic lid and the ``somewhat more difficult machinability upon sealing,'' he said in a paper presented at ``Plastics High Performance Packaging'' in Dusseldorf.
A breakthrough opening up the market could come from a lower recycling fee in Germany, changes in regrind regulations, a need to reuse or reclose the portion pack or create tamper-evident packaging, DeGroof said.
But he pointed to several success stories for multilayer packaging. For example, polysty-rene/ethylene vinyl alcohol/polyethylene peel structures have won favor in Europe as modified atmosphere packaging to hold fresh foods.
Germany recycling laws have pushed development into single-layer packaging, made from PS or polypropylene, DeGroof said.
He predicted more growth in PP barrier packaging, thanks to new and better barrier materials, new technology that can form deeper cups and the fact that total plastic barrier pack with peelable lids can be offered.