Development of new polyethylene and polypropylene-based monomaterial bag solutions in cooperation along the value chain
Borealis and Borouge, leading suppliers of innovative plastics with added value, have developed a range of new monomaterial bag solutions based on polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). The bags, which are specifically designed for recycling together with partners along the value chain, are suitable for the most demanding consumer packaging applications. In line with the EverMinds™ approach, which stands for a closed-loop mindset, these solutions further expand the range of sustainable options for the flexible packaging industry. Some of these bags will also be on display at K 2019 in October, including one with a 35% post-consumer recyclate (PCR) content.
New monomaterial solutions based on PE and PP offer top performance
Borealis continues its collaboration with strategic partners along the value chain. These include leading machine manufacturers in the flexible packaging industry. Borealis' goal is to expand its range of monomaterial solutions for flexible packaging. Following the successful introduction of the full PE laminate in 2016, the company's latest cooperation has produced a range of new and fully recyclable mono-material bag solutions for PE and PP-based materials. These solutions include:
Two bag concepts based on PP, including a full PP laminate with outstanding barrier properties;
A full PE laminate with excellent machinability and a wide sealing spectrum;
A full PE laminate with a recycled material content that can be fully recycled to high-quality recyclates in the closed loop process.
With the exception of the full PE laminate, which is produced using Ecoplast r-LDPE and contains both virgin and recycled materials, the new solutions consist of virgin material based on Borstar® technology: BorShape™, Anteo™, and Queo™. Several bag models are currently being tested in selected markets around the world.
"We are particularly pleased to be able to offer these new monomaterial bag solutions. Together, they perfectly underscore our EverMinds approach, which focuses more on the closed loop orientation of plastics," says Geert Van Ballaer, Head of Marketing Consumer Products at Borealis. "Developed in cooperation with partners along the entire value chain, the products are customer-oriented and driven by innovation. By shaping our future together according to the motto "Building Tomorrow Together", we can develop an even larger number of increasingly sophisticated, cycle-oriented solutions even faster and bring them to market faster than ever before.
Novel mono-material bag solutions developed for recycling
Flexible plastic packaging is a rapidly growing segment of the packaging industry. Whether stand-up pouches, small packages, films, sacks, wrappings or wrappers - the advantages of flexible packaging for manufacturers and consumers are enormous. Flexible packaging ensures the quality and integrity of the contents of the packaging while offering unparalleled functionality and convenience. Compared to rigid packaging alternatives such as glass or metal, flexible packaging achieves better performance in terms of sustainability parameters such as a lower CO2 balance.
While rigid materials are mainly produced on a mono-material basis (100% glass, aluminium, etc.), flexible materials traditionally consist of several input materials. The scrap of multi-materials during the mechanical recycling process reduces the yield. Furthermore, due to their lower quality, multi-material recyclates can only be used to a limited extent.
As part of its vision of a recycling economy for plastics, Borealis has set itself the goal of developing novel polyolefin-based solutions that are not only easier to recycle and enable the production of higher-quality recyclates - such as monomaterials - but which are designed for recycling from the outset. Design for Recyclability (DfR) is designed to make products easy to recycle to conserve natural resources and minimize both industrial and consumer waste. DfR ensures that there are viable alternatives to landfill or incineration.
An important DfR tool published on Boreali's EverMinds collaboration platform is the "10 Rules of Conduct for Design for Recyclability" - a set of guidelines for the design of polyolefin packaging. The new PE- and PP-based mono-material bags are prime examples of how these principles can be successfully integrated into product development.
The focus is on the use of PE or PP monomaterial whenever possible to create flexible packaging that is easier to recycle. Most recycling centres are equipped to recycle PE, PP and PET; the use of monomaterials makes collection, sorting and recycling more efficient.
Packaging must be designed in such a way that it can be completely emptied. Residual contents can be easily removed from bags compared to other containers. This is an advantage as residues in a packaging can contaminate the recyclate in the recycling process (in terms of smell, colour, mechanical properties etc.).
The primary container of the packaging should be transparent or white, as the removal of pigments in the recycling process is disproportionately expensive.
Packaging imprints should take up as little surface area of the packaging as possible, as this ensures better recognition of the packaging type during the sorting process - which in turn enables higher quality recyclates.
The new full PP laminate with good barrier properties is an alternative to packaging with aluminium foil as the barrier layer. This improves recyclability as aluminium foil is problematic as an inseparable barrier layer in the recycling process.