Five different companies throughout the packaging supply chain have joined forces to create what they say is new, more sustainable flexible packaging for food.
The companies — Dow, Syntegon, Comexi, Plastchim-T and Ticinoplast — say the high-barrier mono-material structured polyethylene pouch is not only functional, but designed to enable recyclability in PE-streams.
Conventional multi-layer flexible pouches are unable to be recycled, as the different layers are made from different materials, each performing a different function. These layers are unable to be separated at the end of life, which means that this type of packaging is generally consigned to landfill or is incinerated.
The solution created by the team in this project offers the necessary functionality provided by those multiple materials – for example, oxygen and water vapor barrier, printability, toughness, stiffness, excellent gloss and clarity – without compromising recyclability. The companies say it is possible to tune the barrier layers to achieve the application performance, said the partners. Moreover, the combined expertise input from across the chain led to the new pouch design being developed that could run at speed on existing machinery, offering the properties and quality required and hence providing a commercially-viable solution to the market.
“By working collaboratively with all project members, we’ve been able to accelerate a new offering that has been designed with recyclability in mind from the outset. This is not a concept or a project anymore, this is reality,” said Jaroslaw Jelinek, global marketing manager for oriented PE technologies, Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics.