Huhtamaki Flexible Packaging Europe has obtained RecyClass approval for three polyethylene laminated tube technologies, developed in collaboration with its partners, the Czech injection moulder and toolmaker, Zalesi, and Plastuni Lisses, a member of Somater Group. Lightly direct printed tubes with HDPE shoulders produced using the technologies underwent testing in an independent laboratory.
Here, the first - the PBL 220/11 HD technology developed together with Zalesi - was found to be fully compatible with HDPE recycling. In fact, the recycled plastic generated after the recycling process was successfully tested in a high-value application - HDPE bottles - in concentrations of up to 25%. PBL is the industry term for Plastic Barrier Laminate. The technology comprises a laminated tube, featuring HDPE shoulders, an HDPE cap and direct printing. It includes an EVOH barrier concentration of below 3% of the total weight of the packaging, with more than 1.5% PE tie layers grafted with at least 0,1% maleic anhydride.
Two other technologies the PBL 240-3-7 and the PBL 300/2-7 F were found to be, respectively, fully compatible, and compatible with recycling in high-density polyethylene container streams. The former technology does not include the cap, but includes an EVOH barrier concentration of below 4% of the total weight of the packaging, compatibilised with PE tie layers. The PBL 300/2-7 F technology includes an HDPE cap and the EVOH barrier concentration is below 3% of the total weight of the packaging.
All analyses were performed at the Institut für Kunststofftechnologie und -recycling in accordance with the RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocol for HDPE containers.
The results show that full packaging using these tubes as the body will have no negative impact on the current European HDPE container recycling streams, as long as certain conditions are fulfilled. These stipulate, among others, that components such as valves, liners, seals, etc., must be PE and that the final artwork applied on the tubes is compatible with recycling. Also, all caps, including that of tube laminate PBL 240-3-7, must be made from polyethylene.