Technology & solutions
Recyclability revolution in high-barrier films
2018.10.04   |   조회 : 461
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In an exclusive from our sister title Packaging Europe, Amcor sets out to transform the circular capability of flexible packaging with the launch of a new polyolefin barrier film – a platform technology for packaging a huge variety of products.

The culmination of several years’ R&D and a major step toward achieving Amcor’s pledge to develop all its packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025, this innovation appears to have reached the El Dorado of flexibles: a polyolefin-based substrate that can be used for ambient and retort high-barrier applications – and can be recycled. Amcor spoke exclusively about the launch with Packaging Europe’s Tim Sykes.

Today, many products are protected by high barrier packaging that is not easily recyclable due to their multi-material structures. A good example is retort pouches, which today use polyester, aluminium and polyolefins as base materials to achieve protection and deliver high-barrier performance. Due to different melting points, polyolefins, PET barrier films and aluminium cannot be recycled together, and their recycling requires pure feedstocks. Evidently, a purely polyolefin alternative that would be recyclable through existing waste streams would be a game changer. But could industry find an alternative that matches the barrier and heat resistant performance of multi-material laminates?

Amcor’s answer to this question is: yes, it can.
“Our breakthrough innovation is a high-barrier OPP film with SiOx (silicon oxide) coating that has met the challenges of delivering outstanding performance for barriers, sealing, and withstanding high heat processing, such as retort and heat sterilisation,” Luca Zerbini (VP of sustainability, marketing and innovation for Amcor’s Flexibles business in EMEA) revealed to Packaging Europe. “This new polyolefin film will be a building block to develop flexible packaging for a huge variety of products, from ready-meals to wet pet food, coffee to nuts and snacks.”

At a time when many players on the flexibles market are investing in monopolymer innovation, the importance of this development lies in its range of high-performance applications. Many of the solutions the industry has brought to market have been medium- to low-barrier solutions, unsuited to retort applications, or often developed as bespoke solutions for particular applications. Amcor has taken a different approach, by working on a platform that can be applied across a whole range of packaging contexts. The ambition is bold: nothing less than transforming the whole industry.

The new platform will be available in three basic grades: ambient medium barrier, ambient high barrier and retort high barrier. According to Amcor, the retortable grade is offering barrier performances of <1cc oxygen and <1g moisture after converting and retort (numbers which align with the top performing non-recyclable barrier films currently on the market, for instance PET barrier films). The figures for the ambient high-performance grade are below 0.1 cc oxygen and 0.1 g moisture.

“No other polyolefin film on the market approaches these properties,” commented Andrea Della Torre (senior R&D director, EMEA). “This film is a true breakthrough for high barrier and retort pouches, and is a huge step forward toward meeting our own, and our customers’ sustainability commitments.”

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