A major bottleneck in the transition to a more circular economy for plastics is the availability of high-quality recycled material. Designing for recyclability continues to be a challenge, especially in multilayered packaging structures.
Together with partners Plastuni Lisses, a member of the Somater Group, and Zalesi, Huhtamaki Flexible Packaging have now developed and earned RecyClass certification for a PE-based tube laminate structure that is fully recyclable within the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) container stream. RecyClass is the cross-industry initiative that works to advance plastic packaging recyclability and to establish a harmonised approach towards recycled content calculation and traceability in Europe.
Huhtamaki Flexible Packaging now offers a total of three different tube laminate structures for use in oral care and cosmetic products, all certified as recyclable by RecyClass.
“With these laminate structures we help our customers take a big step forward in addressing their sustainability targets as they can now package products in fully recyclable high-barrier tubes. In addition, this innovation is in line with our target of designing 100% of our products to be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2030.” said Jens Pilzecker, Head of Global Tube Laminates at Huhtamaki’s Flexible Packaging segment.
The polyethylene laminates contain an EVOH barrier, which represents less than 4% of the total weight of the tubes, and a PE tie layer which further improves their recyclability within the HDPE stream. The laminates can be printed with universal printing technologies for an attractive finish and to maximise shelf-appeal. The tubes have HDPE shoulders and a HDPE cap which further improves the quality of the final recycled plastics.
According to the recycling analysis carried out by the Institut für Kunststofftechnologie und -recycling (IKTR), as per the RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocol for HDPE containers following the mechanical recycling of the tube laminates, the recycled plastic is suitable for use in high-value applications such as HDPE bottles.