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COOPERATION BETWEEN BOREALIS AND MONDI PROVIDES EASIER RECYCLABLE POLYPROPYLENE-BASED FOOD PACKAGING

Pioneering Borealis innovation as a viable and more sustainable alternative to non-recyclable packaging for meat and dairy products


Borealis has developed a groundbreaking application based on its proprietary Borstar® Nucleation Technology (BNT), which significantly increases the circularity of plastic food packaging. Using Borealis BC918CF, a special BNT-modified copolymer, Mondi - a global leader in packaging and paper - produces new mono-material packaging solutions for meat and dairy products. These offer the same outstanding performance features as traditional multi-material packaging, while increasing yields for mechanical recycling equipment. Borealis's collaboration with Mondi has also shown that combining the heterophasic copolymer BC918CF with the random copolymer RB707CF can achieve even better material performance.
Trend towards mono-material packaging is picking up speed
Awareness of the need for more sustainable packaging has grown increasingly in recent years. From manufacturers of new goods like Borealis to converters like Mondi, but also brand owners, retailers and consumers: The switch to more sustainable polyolefin-based packaging solutions that also facilitate recycling is widely supported. However, new material solutions must first be found as a suitable alternative to conventional multi-material plastic designs, which combine polymers such as polyamide (PA) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) with other materials. Despite their efficiency as packaging materials, these conventional multi-material plastics cause them to be rejected during the recycling process, thereby reducing the yields from mechanical recycling equipment and the materials actually recycled. In addition, the search for truly viable substitutes for multi-material plastics in food packaging - especially for chilled products such as cheese, cold cuts and other foods packaged on trays - is particularly challenging due to the complex requirements for safety, hygiene, freshness and optical aesthetics.
Innovative polypropylene (PP) solutions based on Borealis' BC918CF and Borealis RB707CF materials are viable mono-material substitutes for multi-material plastics. In addition to a high moisture barrier, their use enables savings in material costs and thickness (downgauging) as well as efficient processing on film processing and packaging lines.
The combination of both copolymers in production contributes to even better performance, such as thermal resistance and high transparency, a key combination for efficient packaging.
Borealis BC918CF is an ideal material for reducing the thickness of thermoformed packaging. As a specially modified BNT copolymer, it offers excellent mechanical strength, a good moisture barrier and an attractive appearance. In protective gas packaging (MAP) it forms the necessary barrier to give meat a shelf life of up to 12 days.
Why Borstar® Nucleation Technology is Good for Converters
Borealis developed BNT based on its proprietary Borstar® technology. The nucleation effect of BNT differs from the standard approach of adding a nucleating agent during pelletisation: the nucleation effect is achieved in situ, in the polymerisation reactor, during the production of PP. This leads to several obvious advantages, including a stronger nucleation effect and an even and better distribution of the nucleating agent. There is no reaction with other additives such as colour masterbatches. The technology enables a low taste and odour and thus full compliance with food contact regulations.
As Mondi has learned first hand from working with Borealis, BNT also offers many benefits to converters:
Increased stiffness with no negative impact on impact strength and maximum load, reducing material thickness and saving material in thermoformed packaging.
Good thermoforming properties and good thickness distribution due to the very uniform crystalline structure of PP; the modified gas atmosphere can be maintained over a longer period of time.
High dimensional stability allowing high packaging speeds and hermetic seals.
"Mondi believes that packaging should always be functional - paper if possible, plastic if useful - and sustainable through design," explains Thomas Kahl, EcoSolutions project manager at Mondi Consumer Packaging. "For food packaging, plastic plays an important role in protecting the resources needed to produce the food by extending the shelf life and improving the recyclability of the packaging. The latter is of crucial importance as Mondi continuously supports the principles of a closed loop economy".
"Close cooperation with long-standing partners such as Mondi is the key to a more closed-loop approach to plastic packaging," says Geert Van Ballaer, Borealis Head of Marketing Consumer Products. "This cooperation is proof of how innovation and cooperation can lead to packaging solutions that not only make everyday life easier, but also relieve the burden on the environment".
www.borealis.com

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