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New barrier additive for PET bottles.

New barrier additive for PET bottles.
APPE, the packaging division of La Seda de Barcelona, launched a new barrier additive for PET bottles.

ActivSeal is an oxygen scavenger with a catalyst in the bottle wall and a hydrogen activator in the closure, which work in combination to prevent oxygen reaching the drink and reduce vitamin C loss.

ActivSeal is based on the HyGuard oxygen scavenger previously launched by ColorMatrix. APPE is the exclusive licensee for the ColorMatrix technology in Europe and has options to be licensee in other parts of the world.

APPE has filed patents for its own closures used in the system. It created the closure in association with mould maker KTW (now part of Husky group).
In a statement, APPE said: “ActivSeal works through the combination of the bottle and closure. A minute amount of the ActivSeal catalyst is present in the container wall, while a hydrogen activator is built into the closure. Once the container is full and the closure applied, there is a controlled release of hydrogen.

“As oxygen enters through the container wall, it binds with the hydrogen on the surface of the catalyst to form negligible amounts of odourless and tasteless water. In this way, oxygen is prevented from entering the container’s contents.”

The company says an advantage of the closure incorporating barrier technology is that clarity is maintained even in smaller bottle sizes, as no extra barrier material needs to be added to the container wall. Normally, more barrier material has to be added to smaller sizes in order to achieve the same level of protection as larger versions and this can affect clarity.

Moreover, the shelf life of small and big bottles are the same. Normally small bottles have a shorter shelf life than bigger bottles due to the surface-to-volume ratio.

According to APPE, one advantage of ActivSeal over existing barrier technologies is in recycling – barrier bottles can cause problems in the PET recycling stream, depending on the dilution factor but ActivSeal bottles are “completely recyclable”. There is no danger of contamination from the barrier, it adds, citing independent tests of ColorMatrix’s HyGuard by the European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP).

Cor Jansen, R&D director at APPE, told European Plastics News ActivSeal bottles can be used for food contact applications again when they are recycled.
The recycling problems of existing barrier technologies need to be addressed in order to extend the use of PET in applications other than the established markets of water and carbonated soft drinks, he said.

APPE will target juice applications first, but it has run tests using ActivSeal for wine and the “interim results are excellent”, Jansen says. The company anticipates a launch in the wine market in 2012.

Food applications will be considered later.

The company says ActivSeal can match the typical shelf life for juices packaged with current barriers, and it can offer an extended shelf life if required. Another advantage of the system is that the oxygen scavenging process does not start until after filling and capping, so empty bottles can be stored for longer periods with no loss of barrier effectiveness.

Jansen says ActivSeal represents “a major change” in the PET market. With ActivSeal, APPE will be selling a whole system, where the bottle and closure work together.