Siegwerk Groundbreaking Recycling Project

Siegwerk, alongside Greiner Packaging and Krones, showcases innovative recycling technology capable of processing previously deemed “non-recyclable” direct-printed polypropylene (PP) and polystyrene (PS) cups. In a compelling collaboration based out of Siegburg, Germany, these industry leaders have demonstrated the power of advanced recycling techniques to transform direct-printed PP and PS cups into pristine white recyclates. This breakthrough challenges existing perceptions outlined by some Design for Recycling Guidelines, proving that with hot caustic washing—a technique commonly used in recycling PET bottles and now being adapted for polyolefin (PO) and PS materials—it’s possible to deink and repurpose these materials without modifying the original ink formulations or print designs.

This initiative not only showcases the partners’ commitment to pushing the boundaries of recycling technology but also highlights the urgent need for recycling guidelines to adapt to technological progress. The project aims to promote a more inclusive evaluation of the recyclability of packaging materials, especially regarding the deinkability of printed packaging under standard recycling conditions. The collaboration supports the adoption of a new test standard for assessing packaging deinkability (DIN SPEC 91496), echoing a recent position paper by the European Printing Ink Association (EuPIA). This partnership marks a significant step towards achieving a truly circular packaging economy, urging a reassessment of the impact of printing inks and coatings on the recycling process.

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