Neopac, the Switzerland-based provider of packaging solutions, has put sustainability at the forefront of its development strategy. Looking for performance, functionality and recyclability, the company is now working on the development of a mono-material barrier solution for its tube packaging for cosmetics, food and pharma products.
As more and more recyclability targets are implemented around the world – in the EU, 50% of plastic packaging must be recyclable by 2025 and 55% by 2030 – packaging manufacturers are being challenged to come up with sustainable and recyclable alternatives to conventional packaging. Meeting these targets will require increased cooperation between all actors involved in the life cycles of plastics, requiring, among other things, new ways of designing and producing plastics.
Multi-layer aluminium-barrier packaging is particularly problematic for recyclers, as this is incompatible with mechanical sorting techniques. Multi-material packaging, says Neopac, results in one million tons of waste in Europe alone. In a bid to develop a more sustainable solution, Neopac has now developed a new line of tube packaging called Polyfoil MMB (multi-material barrier) made almost entirely from PE.
The tubes, which are scheduled to be launched into the market later this year, contain less than 5% of other material – including inks, adhesives, etc - to avoid disrupting existing recycling processes.
Martina Christiansen, director of sales Tubes at Neopac explained: “Technology must play a role in meeting higher recycling standards, and mono-material barrier tubes will represent a sizable step forward in packaging science.”
Neopac is aiming to spearhead the application of new, innovative barrier technologies, including highly oriented PE barrier films (MDO), thin film ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) layers, barrier lacquers and ceramic barrier films.
Metallized tube body options will also be available featuring an ultra-thin “sandwich layer” that, in terms of recyclability, is widely accepted. White and transparent versions also will be produced. Due to the reduced overall wall thickness, the lightweight tubes will offer as much as 40% tube body weight reduction compared to standard Polyfoil tubes with aluminium barriers.
Neopac also is currently conducting tests to convert caps from PP to PE.
Mono-material tube design is but the latest is a long line of sustainable alternatives developed by the company.
Neopac,also offers an EcoDesign portfolio, primarily for cosmetics and personal care applications, that includes the Recycled Tube featuring 75% recycled, “food-grade light” compliant polyethylene plastics; Sugarcane Tube, made from renewable raw materials and offering the same characteristics and processability as fossil-based polyethylene; and PICEA Tube, comprised of 95% renewable material in the tube body and shoulder – including 10% of spruce wood from wood waste in sawmills.