SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, has announced the successful roll-out of the first circular packaging project in Saudi Arabia as part of its TRUCIRCLE™ program to accelerate the implementation of a circular plastic economy. FONTE, a major player of the bakery industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), has introduced bread bags made with SABIC’s certified circular polyethylene (PE) in their Oat Arabic Bread. The bags are made by Napco National, a vertically integrated Saudi manufacturer of flexible film and packaging products, using two food-contact certified circular polyethylene resin grades (LLDPE) from SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio. Following the kick-off of the joint project in March 2023 and successful completion of the trial phase at Napco, FONTE has started to introduce the flexible bags to stores throughout Saudi Arabia.

The new FONTE bread bags incorporate 100% mass balanced certified content of recycled feedstock from mixed post-consumer used plastics, which is converted into pyrolysis oil in an advanced recycling process. SABIC then uses the oil in the production of new polymers with the same purity and quality as traditional virgin plastics at the company’s plant in Jubail, KSA.

Sanjay Mishra, who heads the ETP and Performance Polymers business at SABIC, states: “With our TRUCIRCLE program, we are pushing for innovative business models to transform our industry from a linear to a circular one and help prevent the valuable material of end-of-life plastic applications from being wasted. Within a relatively short time, this remarkable joint project has shown what can be achieved to make this vision come true if all players work together to maximize post-consumer plastic recycling and sustainability. Moreover, the project also addresses a major trend towards more sustainable food packaging in Saudi Arabia, and is the first circular packaging application of its kind in the country.”

SABIC’s circular materials are produced using mass balance accounting according to the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) PLUS program, which follows a set of predefined and transparent rules for tracking the material flow across complex supply chains from the feedstock to the final application.

Mohammed Binmahfoodh, CEO at Masdar Alhayat for Food Industries (FONTE), adds: “At Masdar, our strategic focus extends across the entire spectrum of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). Our mission to integrate quality and sustainability into every aspect of our operations aligns seamlessly with Vision 2030. As MASDAR’s leading brand, FONTE is fully committed to addressing the plastic challenge that all food producers are facing. While this new bread bag is just one of our products, it demonstrates how important value chain players can work together to bring about much needed change. As the availability of high-quality recycled plastics in KSA is increasing, we look forward to transferring the success of this partnership project with SABIC and Napco as a role model to further packaging applications in our ‘Saudi Made’ food products offering.”

Chadi Radi, Senior Director at Napco National, comments: “Napco is firmly dedicated to the advancement of sustainable packaging across various sectors in the plastic industry within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and throughout the Gulf region. We understand the pressing need to address environmental challenges and are committed to supporting our customers in achieving their sustainability objectives. Through our innovative approach, we strive to develop packaging solutions that minimize environmental impact, promote circularity and maximize the value of the plastic life cycle. At Napco National, we welcome the advanced recycling route offered by SABIC as an opportunity to contribute to the circularity of plastics in flexible packaging films. This collaboration has led to a successful implementation of circular plastic film in the food sector.”

SABIC’s certified circular polymers form part of the company’s TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio and services. Besides certified circular polymers, this also includes design for recyclability, mechanically recycled products, certified renewable polymers from bio-based feedstock and closed loop initiatives to recycle plastic back into high quality applications and help prevent valuable used plastics from becoming waste.

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