Dow technology enables recyclable flexible plastic packaging
The Dow Chemical Company (dowpackaging.com) is introducing a new member of the recently launched RecycleReady™ Technology, which enables the recyclability of polyethylene-based barrier packaging as part of existing grocery store drop-off recycling programs.
Created through collaboration with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) and other industry members, Dow’s RecycleReady Technology helps converters create barrier pouches that answer consumer demand for more recyclable packaging options. The new advanced barrier RecycleReady Technology is a major advancement that enables the recycling of packaging for products like granola and nuts, which was not possible before in flexible packaging.
“Working together with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and our value chain collaborators was crucial to achieving our breakthrough RecycleReady Technology, which incorporates RETAIN™ polymer modifiers, a key enabler for the recyclability of the packages,” says Stacy Fields, North America director, Packaging Solutions for Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics.
The stand-up pouch made with RETAIN polymer modifiers is the first package of its kind with barrier film that can be recycled in a polyethylene recycling stream. When combined with other polyethylene resins, the RETAIN compatibilizer offers a recyclable solution with enhanced barrier characteristics.
Before this innovation, flexible barrier packaging posed unique recycling challenges due to the variety of materials generally used as part of its makeup.
With the introduction of RecycleReady Technology, converters will now have the ability to produce recyclable packaging with ingredients that ensure barrier protection, along with stiffness, toughness and sealability of the package. These recyclable flexible pouches incorporate multiple layers, but use only polyethylene as the basic raw material.
RecycleReady Technology in North America has been approved by the SPC’s How2Recycle program to use the Store Drop-Off label. Plastic film, wrap, and bags carrying the Store Drop-Off label can be recycled at participating local retail and grocery stores.
"This technology is a breakthrough in packaging design for recyclability. It possesses the properties of a multi-layer pouch, but behaves like a pure polyethylene bag in the recycling stream. We are very excited," says Kelly Cramer, Sustainable Packaging Coalition project manager.
The technology aims to divert packaging waste from landfill or incineration, increase post-consumer recycling yields and aid the creation of a circular economy for plastics packaging.
“RecycleReady Technology is a great example of how we can bring breakthrough chemistry and process technology together to meet the needs of converters, brand owners, retailers and consumers,” says Fields. “We’ll advance RecycleReady Technology capabilities through continued collaboration.”
In 2015, collaboration between Dow, the SPC and packaging converter Accredo Packaging produced the Seventh Generation brand’s first recyclable Dishwasher Pods packaging. The innovation was developed in response to customer comments that the product’s previous packaging was not recyclable.
“We are thrilled to be able offer this breakthrough barrier technology to our customers,” says Fields. “This has never been done before, and it will provide new options for brand owners and retailers to offer recyclable packaging for many products that consumers enjoy.”