Covestro Collaboration With Sabic Unlocks Improved Recyclability for Mono-Material Flexible Plastic Pouches
- Covestro has developed a new heat-resistant coating for use on mono-material stand-up pouches made with Sabic’s PE/BOPE technology
- Coating facilitates high-speed industrial production of stand-up pouches made with Sabic BOPE biaxially oriented polyethylene
- New solution enables simpler, single-stream recycling
- Covestro provides key ingredients, raw materials, and expertise for the development of heat-resistant coatings
- Sabic provides key ingredients, raw materials, and expertise for the development of mono-PE stand-up pouches
Covestro has developed a proof-of-concept heat-resistant coating for use on mono-PE stand-up pouches made with Sabic BOPE polymer. The coating facilitates the industrial-scale production of BOPE-based mono-material stand-up pouches on horizontal form-fill-seal (HFFS) lines. This innovation paves the way for simple single-stream recyclability of flexible plastic pouches, marking an important step on the way to achieving a circular economy for packaging. Covestro and Sabic will continue their collaboration to further improve and eventually commercialize this product and bring its benefits to brand owners and consumers.
A revolution in packaging materials
Traditional flexible plastic packaging uses multi-material laminates, which are difficult to recycle as it is expensive and time-consuming to separate the different polymer layers. Driven by concern around packaging waste from consumers, governments, and industry, packaged goods brands are looking for more circular solutions. One increasingly popular option is mono-material packaging, made with materials such as BOPE.
BOPE can be used to make flexible packaging in which all the layers are manufactured from PE polymer grades. This packaging can then be recycled in a single stream. However, BOPE-based mono-material stand-up pouches are difficult to manufacture at scale on FFS lines due to their low heat resistance compared with current Pet- or PA-containing laminates. To solve this problem, Covestro engineered a heat-resistant coating for mono-PE BOPE-based stand-up pouches. This increases the pouches’ heat resistance so they can be manufactured on high-speed FFS production lines while maintaining high visual and performance qualities. Thanks to Covestro’s new coating, Sabic’s BOPE polymer can be a viable alternative to replace PA and Pet containing multi-material laminates for flexible plastic packaging.
“We take our responsibility to create lower-impact packaging seriously. Our circular economy strategy focuses on recyclable solutions that unlock pathways toward closing the loop on materials,” explains Davide Reverdito Bove, Sector Marketing Manager at Covestro. “In Sabic, we found an expert partner. This close collaboration will enable us to accelerate the engineering and testing process of our new heat-resistant coating for BOPE with clear benefits for the product quality, the customer, and the planet.”
Catalyzing circularity in the packaging industry
Covestro’s heat-resistant coating has several benefits for packaging manufacturers. It prevents heat seal bars from sticking during the sealing stage of the HFFS and VFFS process – allowing for a broader sealing temperature window and eliminating wrinkling and shrinkage. This enables the creation of high-performing mono-material flexible stand-up pouches with simple, single-stream recyclability.
“Thanks to this heat-resistant coating solution for flexible packaging, manufacturers can meet challenges in processing, without compromising on the properties and machinability of the packaging,” says Roel Beckers, Sales Manager at Covestro. “It allows a faster switch to mono-PE solutions and the use of the BOPE material as we work with global value chain partners who share our mindset of contributing to a more circular plastics economy.”
Covestro innovative heat-resistant coating enables brands, retailers, film producers, and others in the value chain to create new high-performance yet recyclable mono-material packaging – supporting the drive to achieve a circular economy for flexible packaging in Europe and beyond. Although the coating is currently at the proof-of-concept stage, Covestro and Sabic are excited to further develop this innovative solution into a commercial product, helping brands and consumers achieve their sustainability ambitions. By embracing open innovation, both Covestro and Sabic are also committed to working together with the full packaging value chain to accelerate the introduction of more circular packaging solutions to the market.
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