Mondi believes packaging should be sustainable by design, using paper where possible, and plastic when useful. For food protection and extending shelf life, plastic is often the best choice because of its barrier properties.
Until now, recycling plastic has been mechanical, limiting the scope of plastics that can be used and determined by strict legal European regulations for food packaging.
These requirements make it difficult to use mechanically recycled plastic due to potential impurities and plastic flaws that can occur in the layers, limiting the applicability for food contact.
“BASF is working on advancing the chemical recycling of plastic waste, because this will make it possible to process and reuse plastics that are currently difficult to recycle such as mixed plastics,” said Christoph Gahn, VP, business management Polyamides, BASF.
“This prototype packaging, which is based on pyrolysis oil derived from waste plastic, shows that the lifecycle of consumer plastics, including multilayer packaging, could become a closed loop,”
Mondi partnered with BASF to produce the virgin grade material into a multi-layer laminate for food packaging for COROOS private label products and its brand Servero.
In the manufacturing, 100% of the fossil feedstock was replaced by pyrolysis oil derived from mixed recycled material for one of the inner layers (oriented polyamide, OPA-12 mm).
In total, 12% of the packaging weight is made of ChemCycled material.
Proof of concept
“It is important to show proof of concept when establishing breakthrough developments, and for chemical recycling, it is an essential part of the roadmap to commercializing this process in the future,” said Graeme Smith, sustainability manager, Mondi Consumer Packaging.
Elke Schroevers, marketing manager, COROOS, said it was looking into different options to improve its sustainability footprint.
“With this development, the way is paved for plastic waste to become a new resource for flexible packaging while replacing fossil fuels,” he said.