Study shows soluble biodigestible barriers for paper and cardboard packaging are effective
The companies said it provides a viable new packaging alternative that’s ready to go.
The research, ” Considerations for testing process, product and environmental fate of soluble biodigestible barriers for paper and cardboard packaging ‘, Have shown that new barrier technologies such as Hydropol offer an alternative to conventional plastic coatings used in paper packaging by promoting better separation of paper fibers and removing plastic waste from the recycling process, thus reducing the impact negative of paper packaging on the environment.
DS Smith and Aquapak worked together to find a solution to the problem of non-recyclable paper packaging, the use of which has increased as the industry has moved to replace conventional, hard-to-recycle, and usable plastics. unique. This has resulted in the introduction of a variety of fiber-based packaging formats combined with alternative functional barriers in recovered paper recycling streams. However, the materials currently used to give paper the packaging functionality required for products such as food, beverage and household items, are not easily recyclable and result in rejection of the cardboard as paper mills cannot process the products. paper and plastic combinations. Instead, they are incinerated or landfilled.
To provide a solution to this problem, Aquapak has developed Hydropol, a commercially available biodigestible and fully soluble barrier polymer which can be applied by adhesive or by extrusion onto paper and brings advantages to fiber-based packaging, especially the resistance to oil and grease as well as a high gas barrier. It is non-toxic, safe for the sea, dissolves in water and biodegrades afterwards, but still provides the functionality required for food, drink and household product packaging.
The tests used in the study showed that Hydropol is compatible with the processes used by high volume recycling plants and allows high recovery of fibers, while reducing insoluble single use plastics, which are ejected and sent to landfill or waste. The companies said Hydropol is improving current regulations, which allow the use of the ârecyclableâ label if there is up to 15% non-recyclable material in the product. The results obtained in the study provide packaging designers with a method to meet the directive on the recyclability of paper-based packaging established by the European association representing the paper industry (Cepi), which is in place to ensure that the paper portion of the packaging breaks down into single fibers. when pulped within a specified time, and to favor polymers and other sealants that can be effectively treated by the papermaking process and effluent treatment systems and that do not compromise the finished product, the process production or the environment while being recycled.
Mark Lapping, CEO of Aquapak, said: “The new research is extremely important for the packaging industry because it proves that it now has an alternative solution to existing plastics that is commercially available and, most importantly, does not compromise the functionality or end of life of the materials. It is now up to the industry to adopt the new technologies at its disposal and to create a new generation of packaging that meets the needs of the circular economy.
Nick Thompson, Director of Materials Development at DS Smith Group R&D, added: âIt’s clear that the materials used in paper-based packaging need to be designed into the packaging with recycling in mind from the start. This is why DS Smith has developed circular design principles; to ensure repulpability, recyclability and no negative impact on the end of life of the materials used. It appears that the Aquapak Hydropol product in recycling has now proven to aid in the separation of fibers and that it can itself be removed from the process without negative impact and without the need to find an outlet for them. unwanted waste, such as hard-to-recycle plastics. “
Aquapak said Hydropol is three times stronger than the alternatives and is designed for use in existing heat treatment equipment, giving it a wider range of applications. Hydropol allows up to 100% paper / cardboard recovery regardless of the packaging composition percentage.
Extrusion coatings and laminates for paper / board applications are in customer production test stage, including home delivery and e-commerce applications, packaging for dry pet foods, snacks , cooked meat and ready meals applications.