A new project to close the plastic recycling loop

Dow, HP, Reifenhäuser, Cadel Deinking and Karlville have joined forces in a project focusing on close-loop recycling of digitally printed PE-based barrier pouches. The first phase has been concluded with the development of initial prototypes.

Starting out with a polyethylene (PE)-based barrier food pouch designed for recyclability, the project team used mechanical recycling and deinking to create a high-quality dishwasher MDO-PE (machine direction-oriented polyethylene) pouch containing 30% recycled contents and itself suitable for recycling.

Cadel Deinking supplied the deinking technology, Reifenhäuser provided a blown film plant for the production of multi-barrier films with Dow virgin resins, while HP designed a process for decorating the new food pouches produced on a Karlville branded line.

The next step will be to develop a digital product passport in line with the cross-company R-Cycle initiative to develop an open and globally applicable traceability standard for sustainable plastic packaging.

The first PE-rich pouch was designed for recyclability with up to 5% EVOH in the total structure for barrier functionality. Dow’s innovative resins provided a remarkable stiffness-toughness balance, low-temperature sealability, adhesion to extruded barrier layers and excellent bubble stability. The second PE-based pouch used a high-performance solventless adhesive to allow for the lamination of the MDO-PE film to the initial PE-film containing 30% recycled material.