Recyclable Alternatives to Multi-Material Laminated Packaging Films
Laminated packaging films are familiar to us all. These are the flexible packs that wrap so many of our grocery products (from staple foods like rice and sugar through to chocolates and coffee packs).
Flexible films provide a multitude of benefits from being light weight, energy efficient and cost effective. To achieve these benefits, it is currently necessary to laminate various plastic layers together to deliver the overall physical strength, flat/glossy print surface, barrier properties as well as the ability to seal the pack hermetically. Once the product is consumed, the packaging material is now a mixture of various plastic materials that make easy recycling of the packaging difficult.
A potential solution is to consider a new material or a variation on existing materials that deliver the required performance characteristics but in a monolayer material that would be recyclable.
The physical requirements of the film would be:
- Barrier properties of
- <0.5g/m2/24hours for moisture vapour transmission
- <10 cc/m2/24hours for Oxygen transmission
- functional operation on standard form-fill-seal packaging equipment
- allow for easy collection and be recycled through a currently available recycling process or a recycling system that could be developed