Flexible packaging from Mondi.

The Mondi pouch with removable panels.

Brand owners and packaging providers have rolled out innovative replacements for difficult-to-recycle multi-layer plastic packaging.

Recyclable barrier pouch: By replacing layers of different materials with a coated PP film, global packaging producer Amcor has been able to develop a recyclable high-barrier pouch material. Packaging Europe interviewed Amcor executives, who explained the company’s new HeatFlex AmLite pouch creates a strong barrier to oxygen and moisture by using an OPP film coated with silicon oxide. The film, which has barrier properties on par with PET, is suitable for foods such as pet food, nuts and coffee.

Detachable decorative panels: A European brand owner will adopt a recyclable pouch with detachable outer panels, replacing heavily printed multi-layer pouches that are difficult to recycle. According to Packaging Europe, Werner and Mertz is working with packaging provider Mondi to roll out the all-PE pouches for its Frosch brand products starting next year. The packaging printing is on two outer panels, which fall off during the grinding step, leaving the unprinted PE base available for recycling.

Analyzing the evolution: The development of recyclable flexible film packaging will accelerate adoption of the packaging type, according to one expert’s outlook on the industry. Packaging Digest published a question-and-answer piece exploring the future outlook for flexible films, including in the area of recyclability. One of the experts to discuss recyclability, Jonathan Quinn of Nova Chemicals, said the first packaging evolution wave involved conversion from rigid to flexible film packaging, and the next will mean moving to mono-material or otherwise recyclable options.

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