A barrier solution that "alleviates concerns about multilayered packaging" has now been officially recognized by both the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) in the U.S. and Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) as fully recyclable.
Inhance Technologies, a Houston-based international supplier of sustainable polymer materials science solutions, developed Enkase, a barrier system that makes it possible to recycle more high density polyethylene containers.
Current barrier technologies may disrupt recycling of HDPE bottles, the company said in an April 27 news release. The company's Enkase technology consists of a fluorination coating system, using elemental fluorine to enhance the properties of HDPE for hydrocarbon barrier packaging.
According to the company, Enkase provides a permanent barrier that can be applied to HDPE containers regardless of their shape, size or design. The technology protects the product integrity by reducing ingredient loss and increasing shelf life and quality, while maintaining recyclability. The barrier solution meets critical guidance requirements and is in accordance with existing recycling streams for plastic packaging.
Laboratory tests carried out following APR HDPE Critical Guidance and Application requirements showed that the new technology conforms to the current European HDPE bottles recycling stream provided it is used under specific conditions. These conditions relate to the whole system of such a container, which needs to conform to the RecyClass Design for Recycling Guidelines developed by PRE for HDPE containers. However, Inhance Technologies' Enkase system was deemed to pose no recyclability issues and to advance quality recycling.
As a result, it is good for use in high-value applications and will be used in PRE's RecyClass 'Design for Recycling Guidelines' as well as the RecyClass online tool for evaluating recyclability.
The designation from APR and PRE means Inhance Technologies' process can be used in place of most other applications in barrier packaging where the environmental impact is of concern to consumers, retailers and brand owners.
"We have done significant work optimizing our manufacturing processes eliminating process waste, water waste, and emissions," Prakash Iyer, senior vice president, of business development and technology, said in the news release. "We can deliver this technology on a stand-alone basis or embed it in existing infrastructure to produce packaging all over the world."