Baerlocher Collaborates With Polyolefin Film Value Chain to Drive Greater Sustainability for Packaging Applications
Baerlocher, a leading global supplier of plastics additives, is at the forefront of industry efforts to increase the use of recycled plastic in polyolefin film packaging. The company is collaborating with the world’s leading recyclers, converters and brand owners to improve the quality of post-industrial recycled (PIR) and post-consumer recycled (PCR) content used in polyethylene (PE) film. Baerlocher’s Baeropol T-Blends, a family of blended synergistic polymer stabilizers featured here at K 2022 (Hall 5, Stand A21), can help resolve performance and processing inconsistency issues that are typical of PCR and PIR.
Baeropol T-Blends incorporate Baerlocher’s proprietary Resin Stabilization Technology (RST), a family of customizable additive blends that allow for the replacement of traditional antacids. The technology works together with primary and secondary antioxidants to stabilize polyolefin resins far better than standard binary antioxidant blends.
“Collaboration is fundamental in achieving our industry recycling objectives,” said Ed Hall, CEO of Baerlocher USA. “The recycling value chain is amid a collective, iterative process improvement involving new materials, upgrades in equipment, and process optimization. Baerlocher continues to play an important role in these efforts due to our extensive expertise and industry-leading solutions that facilitate the increased use of recycled content without sacrificing quality and performance.”
Brand owners and the entire polyolefin film value chain, including recyclers and converters, are working diligently to meet consumer demands for greater sustainability and comply with regulatory requirements for higher PCR/PIR content loadings in flexible packaging applications. To accomplish this, and subsequently meet their own sustainability objectives, companies must create new packaging designs that incorporate more recycled content – without sacrificing performance in the final product.
Material content reclaimed from distribution centers typically contain a blend of linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) in varying ratios. The value chain is focused on improving collection, washing and sorting of recycled content; removing impurities by melt filtration; and eliminating odors. Baerlocher’s T-Blend stabilization additives can enable recyclers to process the bales using tighter filters to remove impurities without creating new gels at the melt filtration stage.
Enhancing PCR and PIR Resin for Film Through Collaboration
Currently, Baerlocher is engaged in numerous commercial projects with top members of the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), such as Little Rock, Arkansas-based recycler, Revolution. Baerlocher’s extensive expertise in the stabilization of PCR content and the use of its Baeropol T-Blends has been instrumental to Revolution during the development phase of new higher-performing PCR resins for film applications.
“Our objective is to supply the market with the highest-quality PCR,” said Tammy Rucker, VP of Sustainability at Revolution. “Baerlocher is actively participating in our efforts to continue improving the consistency and quality of PE PCR, including deepening our understanding of the value of stabilization.”
Additionally, Baerlocher is leading projects with other companies involving the use of their stabilizer additive technology to enable higher-volume, more-consistent and better-quality PIR and PCR resin supply versus conventional antioxidants.
One of these projects, such as with one major post-consumer plastics packaging recycler and flexible packaging solutions provider in the United Kingdom (UK), have resulted in new commercial product development that has led to the company exceeding the UK’s new 30 percent PCR content law. This new law mandates that companies will need to pay a plastic packaging tax if you have manufactured or imported plastic packaging components which contain less than 30 percent recycled plastic.
Another project is with Cascades Flexible Packaging, a division of Cascades Canada ULC, which manufactures flexible plastic packaging products. Baerlocher Baeropol technology is allowing Cascades Flexible Packaging to achieve higher-quality recycled content and increase its use in film applications.
“As a pioneer in promoting the circular economy, Cascades Flexible Packaging is committed to developing films with a high percentage of recycled content (50-100 percent) that allow us to improve our carbon footprint and provide a higher level of quality to our customers,” said Fabricio Smillo, technical manager of Cascade Flexible Packaging. “We are collaborating closely with the Baerlocher team and utilizing T-Blends, based on the company’s Resin Stabilization Technology, to increase the oxidative induction time (OIT), melt stability and physical characteristics of various PCR/PIR resin sources. Baerlocher has been an excellent partner, bringing the technology, resources and expertise we need to pursue our goal of contributing to the circular economy.”
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