Borealis and Borouge, leading providers of innovative, value-creating plastics solutions, have developed a series of new, monomaterial pouch solutions based on polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). Designed specifically for recycling, and in collaboration with value-chain partners, these new pouch solutions are suitable for the most demanding consumer packaging applications. In line with the EverMinds approach to Thinking Circular, these solutions further expand the range of more sustainable options available to the flexible packaging industry. Several of the pouches will be showcased at the K 2019 in October, including one exemplar containing 35% post-consumer recyclate (PCR).
New monomaterial solutions based on PE and PP deliver high performance
Borealis continues to collaborate with strategic value chain partners, including leading machinery producers for the flexible packaging industry, to expand its range of monomaterial solutions for flexible packaging. Following the successful launch of the Full PE Laminate in 2016, this newest collaboration has generated a series of new and fully recyclable monomaterial pouch solutions for both PE and PP-based materials. These new pouch solutions include:
- Two pouch concepts made of PP, including a Full PP Laminate with high barrier properties;
- A Full PE Laminate with excellent machinability and broad sealing range;
- A Full PE Laminate containing recycled material and fully recyclable into high quality recyclates in the closed-loop process.
With the exception of the Full PE Laminate made using Ecoplast r-LDPE, which contains both virgin and recyclate material, the new solutions are composed of virgin material based on the Borstar technology: BorShape, Anteo, and Queo. Several pouches are currently being tested in select markets around the world.
“We are especially pleased to be offering these new monomaterial pouch solutions. Taken together, they perfectly illustrate our EverMinds approach to promoting greater plastics circularity,” explains Geert Van Ballaer, Borealis Head of Marketing Consumer Products. “They originate in value-chain collaboration, are focussed on the customer, and are powered by innovation. By ‘Building Tomorrow Together’ we can more rapidly generate an ever larger number of increasingly ambitious circular solutions, and get these to market faster than before.”
Novel monomaterial pouch solutions are designed for recyclability
Flexible plastic packaging is a rapidly growing segment of the packaging industry. Whether stand-up pouches, sachets, films, bags, liners, or wraps – the benefits of flexible packaging to both producers and consumers are considerable. Flexible packaging safeguards the quality and integrity of package contents while offering unparalleled functionality and convenience. Compared to rigid packaging alternatives such as glass and metal, flexible plastic packaging demonstrates better performance when it comes to sustainability parameters such as lower overall carbon footprint.
However, while rigid materials are primarily monomaterial-based (composed of 100% glass, aluminium etc.), flexible materials have traditionally been multimaterial. The rejection of multimaterials during the mechanical recycling process reduces yields. Moreover, multimaterial recyclate has limited application due to its inferior quality.
As part of its vision for a circular economy of plastics, Borealis aims to develop novel polyolefins-based solutions which are not only more easily recycled, and produce higher-quality recyclate – such as monomaterials, for one – but are in fact designed from the start with recycling in mind. Design for recyclability (DfR) strives to conceive products in such a way that they are easily recyclable in order to conserve natural resources, and minimize both industrial and consumer waste. DfR ensures that there are viable end-of-life alternatives to disposal in landfills, or incineration.
An important DfR tool published on the Borealis collaboration platform EverMinds is the “10 Codes of Conduct for Design for Recyclability,” a set of guidelines for polyolefin packaging design. The new PE and PP-based monomaterial pouches are ideal examples of how these principles may be successfully incorporated in product development.
Use monomaterial PE or PP whenever possible to form a flexible packaging body, as this facilitates easier recycling. Most recycling centres are equipped for PE, PP, and PET; the use of monomaterials makes collection, sorting and recycling more efficient.
Design packs in such a way that they can be fully emptied. Residual content can be eliminated quite conveniently from pouches as compared to other receptacles. This is favourable because residue inside a pack can contaminate the recyclate (odour, colour, mechanical properties etc.) in the recycling process.
Use transparent or white for the main body of the pack, because the removal of pigments in the recycling process is prohibitively expensive.
On-pack printed matter should cover as little surface area of the pack as possible because this enables better recognition of pack type during the sorting process – with higher quality recyclate as a result.
The new Full PP Laminate with high barrier properties is an alternative to packs using aluminium foil as a barrier layer. This improves recyclability because as an inseparable barrier layer, aluminium foil is problematic in the recycling process.