Mondi (mondigroup.com) and Werner & Mertz (werner-mertz.com) will introduce a new, patented 100-percent recyclable pouch with detachable decorative panels in 2019. The pouch replaces conventional flexible packaging for Frosch products. The design is the result of a joint effort by Werner & Mertz, Mondi, EPEA Switzerland (Cradle to Cradle), Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland and Institut cyclos-HTP.
In 2014 Werner & Mertz decided to develop packaging that is 100 percent recyclable. And Mondi was there to assist. It was not about developing flexible plastic packaging that is only theoretically recyclable; the design aim was to “reverse-engineer” the recycling process: to create packaging fit for every stage of the recycling process.
“If you want to avoid a ‘garbage in, garbage out’ scenario,” explained Immo Sander, head of packaging development, Werner & Mertz Group, “the entire value chain must be aligned — from packaging producers through players in sorting and recycling to buyers of recycled material.”
The packaging needed to be made of a polyethylene mono-material, which is a prerequisite for recycling.
“Our collaboration with Werner & Mertz shows, in the best possible way, how challenges can become solutions,” said Jens Kösters, manager of technical services, Mondi Consumer Goods Packaging, “We worked our way through an ‘innovation funnel’— testing different materials until we arrived at a designed-for-recycling concept that convinced everyone at each point of the value chain. Furthermore, the concept offers clear benefits related to sealing strength and maximum filling volume.”
To solve the issue of recycling printed plastic materials, the pouch has two layers. “We dress the pouch up in an eye-catching ‘outer garment’ that is printed with brand design on the front and consumer info on the back,” said Sander. “When the pouch is empty, we ‘undress’ it automatically by shredding and sorting the two components into separate recycling streams.”
The pouch is 100-percent recyclable and free of glue or adhesive. The spout and cap are also made of PE, so the recycled material will be equivalent in quality to the original material.