PVDC is used in food, beverage and healthcare multilayer barrier packaging globally.
The proof of concept involves a process to recycle Ixan PVDC bioriented film from a post-industrial waste source from food packaging without compromising the performance of the high barrier polymer. The company said this marks an important step towards more sustainable and circular packaging applications, with the potential to launch other initiatives like recycling post-consumer packaging containing PVDC.
“The proof of concept developed by our research team is a solution for PVDC packaging circularity. It shows there is a possibility to reintegrate the recycled polymer into future applications, meaning it can be re-used and re-blended with virgin materials – without losing or degrading its high barrier properties,” said Claire Guerrero, global marketing manager for packaging segment and sustainability at Solvay.
“The recycling technology developed by our team enables us to achieve the right quality so that the recycled PVDC meets the strict requirements for indirect food contact, creating the closed loop,” said Yves Vanderveken, senior project portfolio leader R&I.
Maintaining the quality of the polymer was essential to Solvay in its approach. The polymer’s function of providing a strong barrier against water, oxygen and aromas is why it is used to preserve food and reduce waste. Solvay noted a reduction of these properties would defeat its purpose.
Now the initial breakthrough has been achieved, Solvay is urging fellow companies operating within the plastics industry to work together to turn PVDC recycling into reality. There is a particular need to introduce the infrastructure required to collect and segregate packaging containing PVDC.
“It goes without saying that setting a global PVDC recycling stream is a huge task, so we are therefore inviting our fellow companies to work alongside us to introduce a way to recycle PVDC across the globe. We all have a role to play in the plastic packaging recycling challenge, and Solvay is committed to playing its part," Guerrero said.
The company said the proof of concept opens new possibilities to test the recyclability concept on other packaging applications using PVDC.